An Afternoon at the Hanover Farmers Market

By Mary Liza Hartong | 6/19/14 2:30pm

As I made my way across the Green, tipping my hat to happy bikers and frisbee-throwing families, I couldn’t help but think, “This would make a great opening scene for a romantic comedy.” Think about it. A girl walks into the farmers market expecting to find homemade salsa and walks out with the love of her life. I, on the other hand, walked into the farmers market expecting to find the love of my life and walked out with homemade salsa. Go figure.

Typically at farmers markets, flea markets and any other type of markets out there, I keep my eyes on the product. I snatch up the complimentary cheese samples and scurry away before I can lock eyes with any disgruntled dairy farmers. Perhaps I fear the hippie mambo jambo I think they might try to spout at me. Maybe it’s because I feel rude if I speak to them and walk away without buying anything. It could be the lingering idea that they’ll scold me if I try to touch their fancy baskets. Nevertheless, today I made it my goal to talk to as many vendors as possible and actually pay for the goods I sampled.

I started with lemonade, as I knew it would be a good companion for the rest of my farmers market journey. While the sign simply says “fresh squeezed,” the process involves more than just lemon juice. First, they squeeze a lemon. Then, they add about a cup of sugar, and to finish they drip in a little water. Forget coffee; this drink will give you the same energy you’re looking for in a much more summery package. It even comes with a fun straw. What more could you ask for?

Next, I made my way to the salsa man who grows all of his own ingredients, except tomatoes, which are, as he said, a pain in the butt. I sampled his hottest salsa and his black bean and avocado hummus. Both were delicious, but I decided the salsa would probably last longer in my R2D2-size fridge.

My last purchase of the day was a triple chocolate cake from the Market Table tent. Like many of the booths, this tent was manned by fairly young people—what a surprise! When I picture farmers and bakers I tend to imagine them around the same age as my dear old Uncle Bubba or the ghost of Elvis. Not only were these young people extremely friendly, but all of the vendors I spoke to were also, as my mother would say, “hip.” They had plenty to say about their farms and their work and were even willing to demonstrate their skills. I can now confidently say I understand how needle felting works, and I just might try it out.

What rounds out the farmers market experience is the aura of happiness surrounding the circle of tents. As I walked through, I heard the strumming of blue grass musicians, saw babies in Dartmouth T-shirts enjoying enormous bags of kettle corn and encountered heaps and heaps of dogs running around. Perhaps it was just the sugar high from my lemonade, but I left feeling content. Maybe next time I will fulfill those rom-com dreams and reach for the same jar of raspberry preserves as a cute guy, touch hands, look up, fall in love and live happily ever after. Or maybe I’ll just buy a fancy basket. We shall see!

Mary Liza Hartong