Farmers market a success, changes coming next year

The North Attleborough Farmers Market opened in 2021 to a great response. File photo

As the days became shorter and the air colder, Town Councilwoman Andrea Slobogan looked back on this year’s North Attleborough Farmer Market and considered it a significant success.

“We had more vendors this year, more of our community showed up, and people gave their time to help this year,” Slobogan said. “It was successful because this was our second official season.”

The North Attleborough Farmers Market, an event for local farms, vendors, and artisans to sell their commerce, concluded its five-month run on Oct. 20. This was the second annual farmers market since its foundation in 2021, and will return next year.

Slobogan said a change for the market will be its monthly operations. Rather than ending in October, the 2023 season will last until late September. The market will also open earlier in June, she said.

“This year, the days got darker and colder in October,” said Slobogan. “We are thinking about aligning our final market day with the North Attleborough Block Party. That way we can celebrate the town in one big event.”

Slobogan serves as the president of the Downtown North Attleborough Collaborative, a group whose goal is to promote local businesses and entrepreneurs. The idea to have a farmers market was considered a passion project of the group, as a place that promotes local farmers and healthy eating through the sale of fruits and vegetables.

Slobogan said she considers herself a fan of these markets, visiting multiple ones in neighboring Attleboro and Pawtucket, R.I. In 2019, she and the rest of the collaborative began work on establishing the market, but could not start the following year due to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Attleboro farms had a frequent market for many, many years and then it stopped,” Slobogan said. “So, after going to many of these places, I thought to myself, why doesn’t North Attleborough have one as well?”

This season brought an average of 100 people every Wednesday night from June to October, according to Slobogan, a 40% increase from 2021.This year featured “theme nights,” where the collaborative would partner with groups to raise money.  This included a partnership with the K9 academy called “pet week” and one with local food pantries.

There was also an increase in local artisans with different vendors displaying crafts, paintings, and drawings.

“There was also a variety of different food depending on the day,” she said.  “It can be apples, pumpkins, and other vegetables that I never even heard of before.”

While the variety of vendors increased this year, Slobogan said she wants to include a new item in the farmers market next summer—wine samplings.

The Councilwoman has been supporting a change to the by-law that would allow alcohol to be served and consumed on town property only if vendors receive proper licensing and certification before the event.  The farmers market is held on the green of Town Hall, a public area.

Slobogan said the by-law change would not encourage excessive drinking and would help the town’s local businesses.

“We had a person be a vendor at our market and she wasn’t able to serve her samples as she did in other towns,” she said.  “I want to make this clear, this is not about giving anyone a free pass to drink, this is about helping our markets and bringing in other communities to grow our capital. It also would help our local businesses like Angle Tree Brewery if they wanted to do a sampling.”