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The Dartmouth
May 22, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Norwich Farmers Market: A New Dartmouth Tradition

In recent years, farmers markets, particularly the Norwich Farmers Market, have grown in popularity among Dartmouth students.

Farmers Market.HEIC

The popularity of the Norwich Farmers Market among Dartmouth students has exploded in recent years. Open every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. during the months of May to October, the Norwich Farmers Market has increasingly been considered a must-do for Dartmouth students seeking a local weekend pursuit. 

According to the Norwich Farmers Market website, there are over 50 vendors every week featuring agricultural and farm products, prepared foods and handmade arts and crafts. According to Arianna Stamatoyannopoulos ’25, some student favorite vendors include Abracadabra Coffee, Griddle & Groovy — a specialty grilled cheese stand — and Samosa Man.

Live music has also become a prominent part of the market, with a different group performing every Saturday. Some bands featured on the lineup include Poor Cousins, Black Woods and Fifth Business, among others.

For some students, the market is more than a mid-morning destination; it’s also a part-time job. Annaliese OuYang ’23 works for Salubre, an artisan bread vendor. She said she found the  position on the Dartmouth student employment website.

“I help package and distribute both prepared foods and a number of pastries and breakfast burritos for customers,” OuYang said. “It’s nice because I get to connect with a lot of the community members over food. I think Vermont and New Hampshire do farmers markets best.”

Many students view the Norwich Farmers Market as not only an access point for fresh produce and food, but also as a social hub to see both friends and casual acquaintances, TKTK said.

“It's a fun way to get off campus and still see a bunch of your friends because everybody knows about it,” Chris Zhao ’25 said. “A ton of people go every single week, and it's a nice way to feel connected to my classmates.”

Griddle & Groovy founder and owner Michael Silverman, who has worked for Dartmouth Outdoor Programs for 23 years, noted that student attendance at the market has increased in recent years.

“We went from about 15% student customers to about 35% student customers after my niece, a Dartmouth ’21, started doing our social media, so word of mouth has helped us increase,” Silverman said. “We also increased sales during COVID because the market was one of the only events open to students during the pandemic. Our sales have increased 40% partially due to students and also the popularity of the grilled cheese.”

Both OuYang and Silverman noted that the market has found popularity among both students and townspeople. OuYang added that her vendor “sells out almost routinely by 11:00 or 12:00.”

“The market has so much energy,” Silverman said. “We are so busy that we can't get away with less than three employees, but we're at the fourth to hopefully speed things up further. With the large number of patrons, it's a very good energy.”

According to Emma Hochberg ’25, the Norwich Farmers Market is some Dartmouth students’ first farmers market experience.

“I think the market is a fun little day adventure for people to do on a Saturday morning when you have nothing else to do and you don’t want to go to Foco,” Hochberg said. “It’s also novel; I think a lot of Dartmouth students come from places where there aren't farmers markets, so it's fun to be able to go with your friends.”

OuYang noted that there is a seasonal difference in attendance at the market. She said that although the market is open year round, the spring and summer seasons are by far the most popular.

During sophomore summer, some sophomores live off-campus and thus opt out of the Dartmouth Dining plan. Zhao frequents the market in the summer because she is not on a meal plan.

“I really like getting fresh vegetables from the farmers market, especially because I'm not on a meal plan,” Zhao said. “I've been cooking my own food, and it's nice to support local farms. It feels like I'm contributing to the community outside of the Dartmouth bubble.”

The market consists entirely of local Upper Valley small businesses. Olivia Chin ’25 said she enjoys “supporting small local businesses” at the market, like Gizmos Pickled Plus, a gourmet pickle shop.

“I think the market is popular because it's a good representation of the Upper Valley,” Grace McInerney ’25 said. “I think that Dartmouth students are always looking for ways to get involved [in] and support the bigger community in New Hampshire and Vermont.”

Silverman has been a vendor at the other two markets in the Upper Valley area — the current Lebanon Farmers Market and now-defunct Hanover Area Farmers Market. He said that the atmosphere of the Norwich Farmers Market is different from the one in Lebanon.

“In some ways, Lebanon is more of a family market because it's late in the afternoon, and they also have music, crafts and prepared food; it's very family oriented,” Silverman said. “Norwich has more of a morning vibe for breakfast and lunch. While faculty frequent the Lebanon market, students rarely attend.”

The Hanover Area Farmers Market once ran every Wednesday from June through September on the Dartmouth Green, before the Hanover and Lebanon chambers of commerce merged in 2019 and closed the market. OuYang said that the former market was popular among students.

“I wish we could bring back the Hanover Farmers Market that was on the Green because it was very convenient for students,” OuYang said. “On my way to class, I could buy something if I was hungry because it was right there. While the Norwich market is great, it isn't very accessible to students if you don't have a car.”

Dartmouth students and Upper Valley residents come together at the Norwich Farmers Market every Saturday morning. Students buy artisan food and goods, while small businesses benefit. The market is now a Dartmouth tradition some students say they can’t go without. 

“The market… [is] a nice way to feel connected both to classmates and the Upper Valley,” Zhao said. “It's also just a really good way to spend a Saturday morning when it's bright out. My favorite part of sophomore summer is rounding up my friends at the end of the week and going to the farmers market to decompress.”