Dear Friends and Neighbors,
With Columbus/Indigenous People’s Day come and gone, the unofficial, (official) unofficial delayed closing bell of the “extended New England summer” has gonged. I hope you are all rested and recovered from a long and often wet farmers market season on Lexington Ave. Mother Nature sure had an alternative agenda for our weekend weather this year, and I feel like it was an uphill climb since June.
Many thanks for all the familiar faces who came to support Magtoberfest last weekend, a collaboration between the Farmers Market and the Magnolia Library. The shape of this event has evolved quite a bit since its inception as a fall festival, but now this beer, bubbly, music and food truck extravaganza has become one of the most well-attended fundraising events in town! The entirely volunteer-run Magnolia Library & Community Center is such an important entity in our village and we are proud to help keep their doors open year after year by partnering for this event. Thank you all for attending, supporting and donating to the cause!
Each year, the drop in temperatures and the turning of the leaves brings a change in gears for our MCFM board. No more Sunday morning alarm clocks, foot traffic counts, vendor schedules, or road closures. Time for fiscal evaluations and financial assessments. Moments of reflection and consideration as we calculate our next moves as a board, as a team, as a farmers market.
This summer of 2023, our fifth season on Lexington Ave, was admittedly a struggle to get off the ground. After scouring hundreds of websites, sending cold-call style emails, canvassing other local markets, snail-mailing applications, pouring time into originally crafted marketing material, attending locally sourced food conventions, and pleading and poking over several platforms of social media we finally procured the required farms and foodies to make a go of it, with up to 12 tents popped on Lex on our busiest day. The shopping community seemingly loves our Sunday morning family; from day-1, it has felt like Magnolians appreciate our efforts, and we sincerely hope it has been worth it for our vendors, as well.
But man, is it exhausting. We are a small but mighty team, and we have always been driven by a passion for our community, a dedication to bringing fresh foods and produce to our quiet neck of the woods, where local “food shopping” is really only cafes and a convenience store for anyone with transportation challenges. Our team has been so much fun to work with, and our collective enthusiasm year after year is inspiring. But we all have growing families, aspiring careers, and personal obligations that we can no longer shelf.
It is not without much contemplation, that the planning board for Magnolia Community Farmers Market has decided to table this project and we will not be putting on the Market in 2024. The commitment of time and resources is no longer something any of us is able to shoulder, without sacrificing self care, paid opportunities and personal needs. We have loved working with and for each of you, and have benefited immensely from our years of service to Magnolia. Your passion for farms, food, fun and family is unmatched and all of Magnolia and greater Cape Ann is lucky to have received a bit of your magic through this market.
The time and effort that goes into planning, advising, permitting, insuring, and financially managing a project like a farmers market is certainly not for everyone. I’m so blessed to have had some amazing people come together to make the work feel fun, to make the engine run smoothly, to get the cogs spinning in sync every year. Our OG team, Rebecca Doyon, Nying Gallo and Caitlyn Shatford are among the most intelligent, powerful and downright amazing women I have ever been fortunate enough to know. Your passion, your knowledge, your ingenuity are unmatched. Thank you for your commitment to my crazy ideas and for giving me your time and your love. The phenomenal additions of Greg Farrenkopf’s web designing and marketing brilliance, Dylan Belong Gallo’s zany ideas that always worked, and David Kelley’s logistical and engineering wizardry rounded out an incomparable board which I am forever grateful to call family. I can only hope that if anyone chooses to take these reigns, they are fortunate enough to find a collection of outstanding individuals like you. You all have my heart and I’d follow you anywhere.
I’m confident in this decision to step away, but it’s not without a bit of happy sadness. Magnolia has my heart and I’ve loved every Sunday you’ve shared with me. I may be stepping away from the market but not from my passion for this community, my commitment to the library, my pride for our pier and my admiration for the special magic this place holds. Thank you for being a part of this adventure. Now it’s time for the next…