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To Market, to Market

Farmers give space a chance in City Hall Park

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This Saturday, the Burlington Farmers' Market gets started in City Hall Park. But the event, known for its wide array of edible options and its congested sidewalks, is getting a bit of a facelift. Vendors will no longer face each other across narrow strips of concrete. Instead, there will be one line of carts on College Street, and additional ones on the walkways that lead to the fountain at the park's center.

Mara Welton of Half Pint Farm, who sells veggies with husband Spencer and is also the market's treasurer, explains that the overcrowding had gotten out of hand. "People would say, 'I'm never coming back,'" she exclaims. Members of the Market's steering committee decided it was time to solve the problem; they hope that frustrated former patrons hear about the upgrade and give shopping another shot.

To keep abreast of public sentiment about the adjustments, the group plans to rigorously "collect information and suggestions from customers." Says Welton, "I think we might have fixed the problem," but "there will be lots of opportunities to give . . . feedback."

Farmers' markets already open, or also opening this weekend, include Bennington, Brattleboro, Hardwick, Montpelier, Rutland, South Royalton and Vergennes. Visit www.nofa.org for information about specific markets.

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