| Chris Goudreau
HAMPDEN – For the past three years the Hampden Farmers Market has hosted a variety of vendors specializing in local handmade or homegrown products.
There are typically 30 vendors at the farmers market located at 123 Allen St.
Diane Rollinn, manager of the Hampden Farmers Market, told Reminder Publications the market features handmade soaps, jewelry, local honey, and fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms in communities such as Wilbraham, Belchertown, Monson, and Hampden.
“We only do homegrown stuff that’s local,” she explained. “That’s what our motto is … We have other things like handmade designed flower arrangements, homemade stained glass.”
She added other vendors sell handcrafted stone art, handmade dog treats and catnip.
One of the vendors creates wooden bowls and “can do anything with a piece of wood,” Rollinn explained.
She added, “He’s even taken pieces of wood from people that had cut [wood] out of a tree in their property and handcrafted something for them so they could have something that was significant to their property.”
Rollinn, a resident of Hampden, said she believes featuring local products is important because it allows communities to “stick together.”
She added, “There’s no farmers hardly anymore and we need to keep as many farmers as we can, whether they be small farmers or great big farms. We need to keep them going.”
Rollinn said the farmers market typically has a crowd of 600 people during an average day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday. The farmers market runs until Oct. 1.
She said she hopes to increase the foot traffic to 6,000 people during a typical day.
“I wish there was more people that would come because it’s just phenomenal,” Rollinn said.
Rollinn said every child that visits the farmers market with a parent is eligible to sign up for a raffle, which includes a backpack full of school supplies for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year.
“It’s going to be one raffle for a boy and one raffle for a girl on Aug. 19,” she noted.