Finding fresh, locally grown produce in the winter can be a challenge, but Winchester’s latest market looks to change that. Winter Market has been open for three weeks. Held in one of the garden center’s massive greenhouses, the winter market includes 25 vendors selling everything from parsnips to alpaca wool gloves.
Paul Waxman, Director of Marketing at Mahoney’s, said the opening day of the market went “gangbusters. Way better than we even hoped for. It was huge.”
Last Saturday, in the market’s third week, the parking lot was packed and the vendors were selling fast. Many customers picked up free bags of popcorn near the entrance, then made their way to the beginning of the market. There, Mike Smith of Oakdale Farms was doing a brisk business in Brussels sprouts.
“Things are pretty good,” he said. “It’s worked out pretty good.”
Bianca Meleo, farm manager of Silverbrook Farms in Darthmouth, MA, said she noticed a lot of happy people at the market that morning.
“Winter markets aren’t everywhere yet, so when one pops up, it’s like, ‘Thank God,’” Meleo said, adding this one was particularly nice because of its location inside a greenhouse.
Sue George of the Harvard Sweet Boutique said last Saturday was very busy, especially compared to the previous week, which had been snowy, causing vendors to cancel and many potential market-goers to stay home.
One booth over, Linda Corapi of Gardens Galore showed off her stock of puzzles, all of which were made from photos she took of her own back yard garden in Stoneham. Corapi said she has one of the largest collections of irises in New England.
“This is a way to share my passion,” she said.
Other vendors include the Danish Pastry House, KO Catering Company, Cannistraci Fine Foods, , and more. A complete list is available on the winter market website.
Mahoney’s started planning the winter market in November, when contemplating the winter ahead.
“Typically at this time of year we’re really quiet. We always scratch our heads and think, ‘We’re in a business that’s just too seasonal. We need to find a way to do more,’” Waxman said.
They’ve certainly done that. The market has brought in more customers, who have gone beyond shopping for produce. Waxman said many customers at the first winter market took advantage of Mahoney’s Christmas clearance items and outdoor furniture sale. Indoor plants were also popular items.
The winter market runs at Mahoney’s on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through March 17.