Weather woes didn’t diminish Weaver Farmers Market spirit

Eighth season is considered a success in spite of near-constant presence of rain

Photos by Rich Dionne
Posted 9/20/21

EAST PROVIDENCE — Its eighth year now in the books, the Weaver Library Farmers Market pretty much returned to its pre-COVID-19 pandemic roots during the 2021 season, offering patrons a variety …

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Weather woes didn’t diminish Weaver Farmers Market spirit

Eighth season is considered a success in spite of near-constant presence of rain

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — Its eighth year now in the books, the Weaver Library Farmers Market pretty much returned to its pre-COVID-19 pandemic roots during the 2021 season, offering patrons a variety of locally produced food items and other instructional and entertainment fare.

Reflecting on the market Library Director Joyce May, who helped initiate the concept and remains instrumental in its enduring presence, said one of the highlights this summer was having booth operated by the new Sweetfern Farm based in city. Andrew Cook and Samuel Toler began their operation on the grounds of the historic Walker House located at King Philip Road in Rumford.

Another Thursday night of note was the Health and Wellness Fair co-sponsored by the library and the East Providence Prevention Coalition. The event included a COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

“I was so proud that the library could contribute to the city's vaccination effort in this way,” Mrs. May said. “The vaccination clinics were one of my highlights of the season.”

The director, as well said hosting a knife sharpener at several of the markets “was a great move, too. We saw many new faces at the market on the three days that he was here.” She added, “Sharper Harper” definitely wants to return to East Providence next year.

Mrs. May called Delfina Harrison, of Delfina's Plants, “such a special vendor, always promoting the market wherever she goes in the community.” Ms. Harrison also grows all her plants in East Providence and has been a market staple since the beginning.

Not everything went as planned. The market, as it has from season to season during its run, endured some hardship brought on by the weather. Rain was a lingering impediment most Thursdays this summer. The final edition set for September 9, in fact, was canceled due to the precipitation. The market also operated this year adhering to the remaining pandemic health and safety guidelines, urging patrons to mask up when appropriate and maintain distancing as a courtesy to others.

Mrs. May said, “Because we are ‘rain or shine,’ the weather really was the biggest challenge this summer. Some vendors cancel in the rain so the market becomes smaller, but the farmers have picked their vegetables so they need to a place to sell them. We did see more customer support this year even in the rain.”

Deb Tirrell, a member of market team, said, “In spite of the horrible weather (thunderstorms, rain, the threat of thunderstorms and rain, heat, and humidity) the market was vibrant and colorful with fruit, vegetables, entertainment, and crafts. Two picture perfect days almost made up for the 10 not so great ones.”

Over 350 people were on hand for two Thursdays not hindered by weather, Mrs. May noting, “It was so uplifting and that's what kept us going in the rain and heat.... the possibility of another day like that.”

Added, Lisa Perry, also a member of the market team, "While the weather certainly presented a few challenges for us, this year's market was still a great success. Hundreds of patrons joined us each week to enjoy fresh local foods, wares and entertainment.”

Mrs. May concluded, “I want to give a shout out to our market team. Deb does such a great job with the market's social media. She puts together beautiful photo collages and information that attract people to the market. Lisa is an ace when it comes to organizing the vendors. She and Deb ran the Market Table along with Sharon (DuBois), a true friend/volunteer of the library.

“Sharon made all the popular market bags and masks for the market. Melissa (Moniz) literally ran to help vendors unload at the start of the market. Napoleon (DeBarros), our custodian, set up tents, put out signs and cones, and had everything prepared two hours before the start of the market! Finally, no one could be kinder than Tara (Cimini) at the Welcome Table. Because of Tara, we are able to offer SNAP/EBT and Bonus bucks as well as Senior Coupons. This was our first year of having Senior Coupons at the market so distribution went a little slowly. We expect that the word will definitely be out for next year.”

2021 by East Bay Newspapers

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