SHIRLEY — The Farmers Market is back by popular demand and looking like a winner on the Municipal Green, where a happening scene was in progress on opening day last week under under sunny skies.
As Deborah Thompson and Bob Wright, of “Side Effects” performed, front and center, aromas from a nearby bakery booth wafted along a meandering midway where vendors displayed their wares under colorful canopies on the green common outside the Town Offices off Hospital Road and Front Street, across from the Ayer Shirley Regional Middle School.
The merchant’s roster included a varied array of area artists and artisans.
Among those who set up shop and hung out shingles: Sholan Farms, Bar and Measure, Island Imago, Michael Fontaine, of Wild Brook Apiaries in Leominster, selling honey; Richard and Jeanne McCabe, a husband and wife team from Shirley offering all-natural soaps they conjure up right here in town. An artful array of goods beckoned from In the Meadow, an alpaca farm in Lunenburg.
Works from the Woods featured Virginia Wood’s pottery and lamp work glass, beaded jewelry, with items priced from $5 to $80. There was even a book signing: Ashburnham author Chele Pederson, whose books are available on Amazon, was selling autographed copies.
Next door, earring artist Amy Page. A couple of booths away, Danielle Marzuca, of Whiteman Farm in Lunenburg had an enticing array of “first harvest” vegetables for sale, including grape tomatoes, beets by the bunch, shiny green and yellow squashes…and jeweled sandals her grandmother made.
The singer/guitarists – Thompson and Wright — also belong to another group: “Back to the Garden” which will be playing at an upcoming folk festival in Harvard, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. In honor of which, they rolled into a rendition of a John Sebastian/Lovin’ Spoonful song. Some might recognize Thompson from her off-stage life, as director of Harvard’s Council on Aging.
Business was brisk all afternoon, the vendors told a visitor as browsers and buyers strolled by.
Rejoining a seasonal lineup of farmers markets from Ayer and Harvard to Groton, Pepperell and beyond, the welcome comeback in Shirley is thanks to a small group of hardy souls who worked behind the scenes to get the word out and the event back on track after a two-year intermission.
Now, the Farmers Market is open for business again every Thursday afternoon from 3-7 pm, weather permitting.
Formerly held on the historic Town Common, Farmers Market advocate Holly Haase told the selectmen last year that for all its appealing ambiance, the picturesque common was too tucked away. “No traffic,” she said, when pitching the pop-up market idea to the board last year.
This time, they’ve set up shop in a spot that’s more visible, easier to get to, with plenty of parking.