With all of the the colorful, ripe fruits and vegetables lining the tables of the West End Farmers’ Market (WEFM) it’s difficult to walk through without drooling or experiencing hunger pangs.
Originally started by a Hartford West End resident, WEFM is now in its 13th season and currently managed by Caroline Finnegan. Last year, WEFM, realizing they had outgrown their original location, moved to their present location at 385 Farmington Avenue (next to the Mark Twain House). Starting the first Tuesday of June and ending the last Tuesday of October, the market spans the majority of the farming season. The hours are every Tuesday in June-September, 4-7 p.m. with the hours changing to Tuesdays, 3-6 p.m. in October thanks to shorter days. When Caroline took the reigns two seasons ago, she envisioned local musicians and performers at the market. As a 2015 recipient of our Hartford Events Grant, WEFM now includes multi-genre live acts. Such acts from this season have included a marching band, Bluegrass, Acoustic Guitar, Pop and even Ballerinas.
Another aspect that sets the market apart from others is that they accept and double SNAP benefits and the WIC and Senior FMNP coupons. This all ties into the market’s vision that “Everyone deserves access to fresh, healthy delicious food.” Think that shopping at a farmers’ market is out of your budget? Think again!
Perhaps what is so special about WEFM is that it serves as an incubator for local business to boom and provides a channel for exposure. One such notable business that has served as a regular vendor at WEFM is Hartford Prints! When asked why people should return to the market each week instead of a one-off trip, Caroline Finnegan stated, “There’s always something new. We frequently include guest vendors so there’s a nice variety.” Staple vendors at the market include: Sweet Acre Farm, Hartford Baking Co., Grow Hartford, Just Juice, Littel Acres Farm, Eddy Farm, NoRA Cupcake Company, Copper Hill Farm, Chet’s Italian Ice and Integrated Life Therapy.
By connecting the West End and Asylum Hill neighborhoods to local farmers and artisans, WEFM is creating a stronger and healthier community–and that’s something worth celebrating. Be sure to mark your calendars for “Harvest Fest” on September 29th, 4-7 p.m., which will include live music, special guests from Nightfall, food trucks and free apple cider donuts!
WEFM is always looking for dedicated and energetic volunteers to meet the daily market needs. For volunteer opportunities, visit: http://www.wefm.org/volunteer
If you are a performance artist and would like to get involved or want more information about WEFM, email: firstname.lastname@example.org