October 20. 2013 8:38PM

Salem Farmers Market puts its focus on winter

Union Leader Correspondent

SALEM — For the past several weeks, much of the talk around the Salem Farmers Market has focused on whether the town would allow signs advertising the market on public ways.

On Sunday, however, market volunteers, vendors, and customers focused on the end of a successful summer and fall season and looked forward to a full winter schedule.

As the issue of the signs pointing to the market at the Lake Street Garden Center has subsided somewhat, market organizer Jane Lang said business has picked up and that she is happy to look forward to the winter market, which will take place in the garden center’s new greenhouse.

“On Nov. 24, we will reopen at the new greenhouse,” said Lang. “We have a tremendous amount of new vendors coming in, and we will have a great variety of fresh greens and other products.”

The winter market isn’t the only good news for the coming months, Lang said.

Brookford Farm of Canterbury will be at the Lake Street Garden Center every Sunday year-round, offering their products, including raw milk and freshly baked breads. The farm will also be distributing weekly CSA shares to those taking part in the community supported agriculture program.

“Salem is a great market,” said farm general manager Luke Mahoney. “We’ve been here since Jane began building it up, and we have been building it up with her.”

By being on-site every week, Mahoney said his farm will be able to provide the fresh, raw dairy products on weeks when the market isn’t open.

“A lot of our customers come from northern Massachusetts, where it is harder to get raw milk,” said Mahoney.

For Layla Saad and Anne Lin, volunteers at the market from Windham High School, the market is a good opportunity to work outside and learn about the value and importance of locally grown food and products.

While Lang was busy enough during the market not to focus on the issue of signs being allowed on public rights-of-way for the market, she said it is not a dead issue and plans a citizen petition for next March’s town election that would allow the signs.

Appearing before selectmen earlier in the fall, Lang said the signs are the best advertising for letting people know the markets are taking place.

Selectmen voted against allowing the signs, with some board members claiming the market is a for-profit business.

“The important thing that the selectmen are not understanding is that we are promoting healthy eating,” said Lang.aswift@newstote.com