The New Haven Green is celebrating its 375th birthday with its first-ever farmer’s market, which opened this summer to great fanfare.
Until last year, the proprietors of the Green had never allowed a commercial business to operate on their grounds in order to preserve the space’s unobtrusive environment. But last spring the five-member committee decided to invite CitySeed – a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable food- to invite a group of vendors to a farmer’s market in honor of the Green’s big anniversary.
The New Haven Green farmer’s market opened this past June, drawing hundreds of people every Wednesday to browse its fresh-baked goods and locally grown produce. The market, which moved from its previous location in front of City Hall, is now situated on the corner of Chapel and Temple Streets. The Green location is one of five farmer’s markets CitySeed operates around New Haven.
The downtown market, which is open once a week, is composed of twelve different vendors, and typically sees anywhere from 300 to 500 customers each day, according to Julia Zhao, CitySeed’s Assistant Market Manager. This is an increase in both the number of vendors and number of customers from the City Hall location.
This increase might have to do with the market’s easy accessibility to public transportation, said Sandra Rose, manager of Rose’s Berry Farm. The Green’s location on a bus line has attracted a more diverse customer base, from lower-income shoppers to University students.
“It’s nice having the market on the Green right in the center of town,” said Alison Adams, a New Haven resident, adding she used to visit the City Hall market about once a month, but now frequents the downtown location every other week.
“When it was right on the sidewalk in front of City Hall, it was more difficult to navigate,” she said.
Vendors expressed satisfaction with the market’s new location as well. For Stacia Monahan, co-owner of Stone Gardens Farm, the Green provides aesthetic advantages, such as shade from trees and a wide sidewalk, as well as practical advantages, like closer parking.
The market was a bit slow when it first opened, possibly due to inefficient communication about the location change, according to Matt Pesce, a Rose’s Berry Farm employee. But it quickly picked back up due to its new accessibility and location.
“Whenever you move a market, there is some transition with the population, with who comes and who doesn’t anymore,” Berube said. “Overall it’s been a pretty positive transition, but there are always kinks to work out.”
The farmer’s market will be open through Nov. 27.