Home of the Sanbornton Historical Society
Several events led to the development of the very successful Sanbornton Farmers Market (SFM). Most notable, in April of 2001 interested citizens gathered for the Sanbornton Planning Board sponsored UNH Cooperative Extension Community Profile. One of the four final priorities was to support our local farmers, to include a farmers market.
Our original plan called for two farmers market days in August of 2001 to test the concept; however, public response was so favorable that we expanded the market to ten Fridays that first summer.
From the proceeds of the SFM, local farmers expanded crop sizes, purchased equipment that allowed for the growth of their business and embarked upon new agricultural ventures, including green house crops and farmstand expansions.
A little more difficult to define, yet nonetheless valuable, is the sense of community that a rural, agricultural base offers to Sanbornton citizens. The importance of an agricultural component to the Sanbornton economy receives high marks on just about every community survey.
Local citizens have embraced the notion that open space preservation starts with buying local goods. Besides the economic benefits that a farmers market provides directly to farmers, local citizens are provided an opportunity to support our rural heritage in a most tangible and healthful way.
Many of our customers arrive before the market opens and once they have done their shopping, they stay for a while and visit with neighbors, old friends, and new ones made at the market.
Holding the market late on Friday afternoons enables many weekenders to do their shopping for fresh produce on their way to their weekend destination. Even more telling is the number of summer residents who supported the market. They often comment that the market gives them a sense of community to their summer stay in the Lakes Region. The farmers market furthers their enjoyment of rural New Hampshire one of the reasons they summer here.
In September of 2002 NH Public Television came to our market and produced a video featured on NH Outlook.
In the fall of 2002, the SFM became a standing committee within the Sanbornton Historical Society (SHS). All vendors at the SFM are members in good standing of the SHS and the SFM is held on the grounds of the SHS's restored Lane Tavern, an historic 1800s stagecoach stop. It is quite an idyllic setting and one that brings many customers back week after week.
During the summer of 2003, the market successfully produced and soon sold out a cookbook of locally developed recipes that use produce available at the farmers market. Surprisingly, we got more questions on how to prepare fresh fruits and vegetables than you would think knowledgeable farmers markets shoppers would ask. The results of the cookbook are a very tangible example of the viability of the Sanbornton Farmers Market and its members.
In July 2004, the market's members and the SHS Governing Board prepared an "Old Time Tavern Supper" under the guidance of our local chef, Charlie Burke. The supper featured an authentic 1830's tavern menu and received enthusiastic responses for the diners. Virtually all of the menu items came from local Sanbornton farms. Because of the success of the first tavern supper, hosting a growers' dinner has become an annual August event for the SHS and SFM. Click here for the 2007 menu.
During the summer of 2005, we opened the Lane Tavern for tours on the first Friday of the month during market hours. We felt this added to the ambience of the market and we continue to offer these first Friday tours today.
In September of 2005, the SHS/SFM launched a Buy a Square Foot campaign to raise $3,000 to build a farmers' porch on the rear to the Currier Building (former school bus garage) for the customers of the Sanbornton Farmers' Market. The SHS/SFM accepted donations of $10 per "square foot".
An anonymous donor came forward and offered $1 for every $2 raised and by late August 2006, we made our goal with a range of donors, to include the donation of a square foot from Brownie Girl Scout Troop #387. Alan Lefebvre, Lefebvre Construction Company, offered to build the farmers porch and donate the labor from his construction company.
On 6 October 2006, we hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the farmers' porch. Participating in the ground breaking ceremony were: Ray Burton, Executive Councilor District 1; Steve Taylor, NH Commissioner of Agriculture; District 2 Representatives Gail Morrison and Bill Tobin; Patsy Wells, Chairman, Sanbornton Board of Selectmen; John McPhail, First Vice-President, NH Farm Bureau Federation; Dave Witham, President-elect, Sanbornton Historical Society Governing Board; and Brownie Troop #387. Note: Photo courtesy Winnisquam Echo
Thanks to Alan Lefebvre & Company and all the donors to the "Farmers' Porch "Buy a Square Foot" campaign, the newly constructed porch on the rear of the Currier Exhibit Building now provides a wonderful ambience and respite for farmers' market patrons and local performing musicians. Today, many consider the Sanbornton Farmers Market as a model market. The SHS/SFM partnership continues to be very successful for both organizations.
On 3 August 2007, Governor John Lynch attended our ribbon cutting ceremony for the farmers' porch. Also participating were: Alan Lefebvre of Alan Lefebvre & Company; Steve Taylor, NH Commissioner of Agriculture; District 2 Senator Deborah R. Reynolds; District 2 Representatives Gail Morrison and Bill Tobin; Steve Ober, Sanbornton Board of Selectmen; Wayne Mann, President, NH Farm Bureau Federation; Dave Witham, President, Sanbornton Historical Society Governing Board. Governor Lynch toured the farmers' market, the snowroller and fire pumper display, as well as a tour of the Lane Tavern. The ribbon cutting ceremony kicked off the 2007 Sanbornton Old Home Day (weekend).