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There’s something to be said about visiting a local farmers’ market while visiting a new city – or exploring your own. Local markets are an unparalleled way to feel the pulse of a city, get to know the community, and perhaps even savor a few tasty treats along the way. And, if you’re wondering where to find something to eat, odds of finding a vegetarian bite at a market are pretty good. Is there anything better than farm fresh produce, after all? With that in mind, VT will be checking in with great farmers’ markets around the world for a recurring series we’re calling VT Market Visit. This edition: Burlington Farmers Market in Burlington, VT.
Burlington Farmers Market in Burlington, VT
Located in the south end of the city, the Burlington Farmers Market has been held every Saturday (May through to October) since its inception in 1980—and has become a local staple for its sustainable approach to connecting farmers and artisans with the greater Burlington community.
Take a stroll through downtown Burlington on any given Saturday morning and you’ll find community members, travelers, and restaurateurs milling about while taking in the sights and smells of Vermont’s best bounty—from fresh produce and free range eggs to maple syrup and locally crafted beer and cider.
The open-air market makes shopping for the week both fun and fruitful, with stands and displays welcoming all who are interested to learn more about local Vermont produce and farming methods and perhaps sampling a thing or two — but it’s the commitment to sustainability and putting local makers in the spotlight that makes the Burlington Farmers Market a key player in the local community.
Must-Visit Farmers and Makers
The Burlington Farmers Market is only open on Saturday mornings—so you’ll want to ensure you see (and taste!) as much as you can. We spoke to Christine Clark, a cheese educator and journalist based in Burlington to help narrow down the farmers and vendors that you shouldn’t miss:
Fairy Tale Farm
Interested in stopping for something a little sweet and savory to enjoy while pursuing the market? “The sheep milk gelato from Fairy Tale Farm is exceptional,” Clark explains—and for good reason. People have been raising sheep on the rocky terrain in Bridport for over 150 years and Fairy Tale Farm prides itself on its ethical practices and old-fashioned approach to farming. This results in a creamy, slightly sweet, sheep milk that lends itself beautifully to gelato and cheeses.
1000 Stone Farm
“1000 Stone Farm is great — especially for their mushrooms” explains Clark. Located in Brookfield, Vermont, this certified organic farm focuses on regenerative agricultural practices that respect the environment while fostering a more sustainable way to feed the community. The Farm Store is a permanent staple at the Burlington Farmers Market—but you’ll also find 1000 Stone produce on seasonal restaurant menus and other local co-ops/markets around Vermont as well.
Sunny Brook Maple
No trip to Vermont is complete without a hint of maple syrup — and Sunny Brook Maple does it extremely well. Handcrafted in Westford, Vermont, this market mainstay has been around for nearly forty years and continues to produce some of the tastiest maple goods in the city. Pick up a can or two of pure maple syrup for good measure — but be sure to sample some of the decadent maple desserts and baked goods while you’re at it.
You might not immediately think of herbs and spices when making your Saturday morning shopping list—but a stop at Digger’s Mirth will quickly remind your senses of why fresh herbs should be a key player in your produce arsenal. “Digger’s Mirth has a lot, including a really unique selection of herbs that I haven’t seen elsewhere,” explains Clark. The five-person farm collective grows and sells flowering chives, lovage, and even lemon balm, alongside classics like mint and oregano.
“It might not be food—but June Farm has absolutely lovely bouquets!” says Clark — and there’s nothing like a bright floral arrangement to sweeten a Saturday morning spent at the market even further. June Farm is known for its sustainable and gentle approach to flower farming; the guiding ethos being that “every single soul” deserves to have fresh, chemical-free flowers.
The Burlington Farmers Market might only come around once a week—but the impact it has on the local community is significant. The mission of the market is to help connect Vermont farmers and artisans with the greater Burlington community, which is seen through special market pop ups and collaborations with other non-profit businesses to shine the spotlight on all things local.
The outdoor market might close down as the temperature drops for winter—but Burlington Farmers Market makes it a point to transform into a seasonal holiday market before pressing pause until the spring. The idea here is to help facilitate shopping locally while also granting easy access to fresh and organic produce and goods in time for the holidays.
The Burlington Farmers Market prides itself on being involved with all aspects of the local community — and as such partners with the South End Art Hop (SEABA) for an annual exploration of local artists and studios around the city. The two-day event coincides with regular opening hours at the market, which allows for families and visitors of all ages to stop by the Art Hop pop-up tent and participate in art projects while getting a better understanding of the local art community.