By Joann Mackenzie
---- — Just when it seemed it couldn’t get any better or bigger, the Cape Ann Farmers Market is getting better and bigger.
This morning, at 10:30 a.m., it gets off to yet another fresh start, when its first Spring Market makes its debut at Gloucester’s Unitarian Universalist Church.
Nicole Bogin — the market’s driving force and director since seven summers ago, when, as a pilot program, organizers pitched its tents for a four-week test run out on Harbor Loop — has made something of a career of fresh starts, moving the market first from Harbor Loop to 1-4, C-2, before finally settling into its permanent summer home at Stage Fork Park.
Next, came more fresh starts, first with its first autumn harvest market two years ago, then with its first winter holiday market this past December.
A spring market seemed like the next logical and ecological place to go, says Bogin, who timed its launch to coincide with today’s Cape AnnTime Bank’s Downtown Eco Trip Scavenger Hunt. That event is set to run from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
The market, held downstairs at the UU Church, will be quite a scavenger hunt itself, says Bogin, with more of everything it’s famous for, plus a fresh new bumper crop of tender, sweet spring greens.
Thanks to new technologies that have made four-season farming a reality for a new generation of farmers like Noah Kellerman, the greens, says Bogin, go beyond perennial spring traditionalists like asparagus and foodie favorites like fiddle ferns.
Kellerman, of Essex’s Aprilla Farm, is one of Cape Ann Farmers Market’s local “gold mines” for greens that are greener in every sense of the word. He may only be 24 years old, but he’s an old pro at what’s new in environmental farming, having studied sustainable agriculture at Amherst’s Hampshire College.
Born on Aprilla Farm, he’d grown up gardening. The land, which had been in his family since 1978, had been farmed since the 17th century. But in the summer of 2009, Kellerman planted an acre of it and launched it into the 21st century with a hugely successful market garden, before pushing the boundaries of seasonal farming with greenhouse technologies that now yield a year-round bounty of local favorites, including beets, napa cabbage, pak choi, celeriac, chard collards, cucumbers, cantaloupe, brussels sprouts, carrots, snap peas.
Bogin added that more information and a complete list of the farmer’s market’s events, venues and dates can be found at www.capeannfarmersmarket.org. That list, adds Bogin, includes the market’s annual dinner and movie fundraiser, which it’s once again time for.
Now in its fifth year, the fundraiser has become something of a rite of spring for Cape Ann foodies and organic farming fans. This year, it’s set for April 28, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Cape Ann Cinema with the usual great food donated by the usual great restaurants, and featuring an unusually great film, called “betting the farm” — something which farmers market fans would certainly never do.
Joann Mackenzie can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3457 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.