Cape Ann Farmer’s Market Opening for 2012 Season, June 21st to Oct. 11th. Official opening on Thursday, June 21st, at 3:00, Stage Fort Park

The Stats: On Thursday, June 21st at 3:00 p.m. the Cape Ann Farmers Market at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester, will celebrate the opening of its 2012 season. The market will be open until 6:30 p.m.

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New this year: More markets, more vendors, more fun

The Cape Ann Farmer’s Market has added to its season, starting one week earlier, and is planning two special indoor markets during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. New vendors this year are offering roasted nuts, herbs, homemade cheese, condiments and new additions to our prepared food vendors to take home or eat at a near-by picnic table. These, along with Cape Ann Farmer’s Market farm favorites, crafters and local food producers, make the market one of the largest in Massachusetts. Along with an extensive array of fresh produce through-out the season, vendors will be selling baked goods, gelato, fresh pasta, fish from Fisherman’s Wharf Seafood, local wines and locally roasted coffee. Back yard growers will be selling produce, eggs, maple syrup, desert sauces, salsa, and jams. Craft tents will offer organic soap, hand-made jewelry, pottery, hand-printed clothing and art made from recycled materials. A complete list of vendors and weekly schedules may be found on www.capeannfarmersmarket.org.

The Farmers Market is at Stage Fort Park, overlooking beautiful Gloucester Harbor, through the courtesy of the City of Gloucester. Parking fees will be suspended during market hours, so plentiful free and ample parking will be available to shoppers. A CATA bus will run from the Rose Baker Center on Rogers Street to Stage Fort Park by reservation.

The Cape Ann Farmers Market is an independent non-profit, mission-based organization, started by and for the community of Cape Ann, and sustained with one part-time paid employee. It is funded by vendor fees, memberships, donations and grants. Cape Ann Farmers Market sponsors a used cookbook and garden book table, and will be selling tote bags, aprons, t-shirts and memberships, which include discounts at local restaurants and specialty stores every week to help offset the costs of running the market.

The Cape Ann Farmers Market accepts WIC coupons, Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Coupons, and SNAP/EBT, expanding its mission to bring healthy food to the entire community.

Other: The Cape Ann Farmer’s Market includes a wellness tent where shoppers can relax with a therapeutic massage, and an education tent where local non-profits promote their organizations and services. Cooking demonstrations are a frequent and popular attraction, and children’s activities are organized by Art Haven every week at 4:15 under the children’s tent. Stage Fort Park has a playground to entertain children while parents shop, and grills are available so families can stay for a picnic dinner or a concert at the bandshell. Prepared food available this year for taking home or dining at the park include homemade pickles, guacamole made on-site, fresh salsa, tacos, burritos, lobster and crab rolls, grilled chicken and pulled pork, fresh homemade pizza, savory and sweet tarts, a wide variety of baked goods including gluten-free goodies and Lebanese flat bread. A special picnic night is being planned in late July.

Talent: Instead of piped-in supermarket Muzak, area musicians provide an original background soundtrack for shopping. Performances are during market hours, from 3:30 to 6:30, and feature sea shanties, folk, bluegrass, blues, jazz, and world music over the course of the summer.

Special Events: The Seafood Throw Down, a cooking contest and display by local chefs, will be held July 26 and August 23.

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