PEPPERELL -- If you find yourself cruising around town on Saturdays this summer and early fall and the streets seem a little empty, stop your wondering and check out the local farmers market -- that's where all the action will be.
Established in 2007, the farmers market was begun as a place for local farms and farmers to sell their wares.
According the farmers market website, the object of the weekly market is to "provide the opportunity for the Pepperell community to come together and enjoy shopping for a variety of local fruits and veggies, grains, breads, cheese, eggs, herbs, honey, locally produced meat, and locally produced crafts" as well as to "provide an opportunity to buy local produce, support farm families, agriculture and the environment, and preserve the 'country feel' and character of the Pepperell community."
Preserving the "country feel" of the town, said Agricultural Commission member Heather Friend, is something surveys have shown residents strongly support; a position proven by the fact that commissioners meeting on the evening of March 14 could not recall the last time when there was a dispute between a homeowner and farmer over the usual complaints of noise or odors.
"There's a friendly relationship between farmers and the larger community," said Friend. "Farmers are appreciated in Pepperell."
That friendly symbiosis has extended to the farmers market, which regularly attracts hundreds of patrons from all over town and beyond.
That's likely because at the market, visitors can find a number of local farms selling a wide variety of fresh-picked produce, including heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn, multitudes of greens and lettuces, fresh herbs, blueberries and apples, and many more seasonal vegetables and fruits.
In addition to fruits and vegetables, the market also offers a range of meats and poultry as well as dairy products, including beef, eggs, honey, varieties of cheeses, fresh baked bagels, breads and scones.
And aside from foodstuffs, the discerning shopper can also find enough fresh cut flowers to create the most attractive of nosegays.
Then there are the local artists and artisans and handicrafters, all selling their wares to the tunes of local musicians such as Back to the Garden, the Nissitissit Middle School Choir, and The Rafters.
So if anyone is looking for fresh, natural, healthy foods at good prices, they would be advised to skip the grocery store and seek out the product grown and raised right in the own backyard, so to speak, and by their own neighbors.
Such is the promise of members of the Agricultural Commission who met March 14 to begin planning for this year's farmers market, which will be held every Saturday between June 15 and Oct. 5.
"It's got a pretty strong following," admitted Friend of foot traffic on typical market days.
"Our vendor list is going well, too," added commission Chairman Todd Russell of local growers and sellers signing up for stalls at the market.
For those interested in selling their wares at the market, an application form is available online at pepperellfarmersmarket.com.
To sell at the market, a modest fee of $10 a week is charged, or $100 for the entire season.
The deadline for applications is April 30.
The market's website may also be visited by anyone seeking general information about musical performance schedules, vendor lists, and other pertinent information.
So if you find yourself driving through a ghost town some Saturday this summer, be aware that everyone else in town is likely down at the farmers market hobnobbing and otherwise taking advantage of local farmers' good nature with their good food at good prices.