Farmers markets were Hartford Food System’s first project. In 1979, Hartford Food System took over the management of a farmers market that had started the previous year at Hartford’s historic Old State House, later adding four new markets in Hartford’s lower-income neighborhoods.
In 2008, Hartford Food System and the City of Hartford launched the North End Farmers Market. Opening day festivities included programs for children, musical entertainment, and live cooking demonstrations. Every summer the market provides fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables from area farms. In the 2011 season, the Market’s fourth season, more than 5200 visitors came to the market and bought produce provided by the following local farms:
- Oxen Hill Farm (Suffield)
- Gotta’s Farm (Portland)
- Littel Acres Farm (South Glastonbury)
- Maplewoods Farm (Suffield)
- Additional guest farmers
The North End Farmers Market is a grassroots victory for North End residents who long desired a farmers market in their own community. Hartford Food System supported this effort through a feasibility study published in 2008, and partnered with neighborhood leaders to hire the market coordinator and provide outreach to community residents. A planning team comprised of community residents, the City of Hartford’s Department of Health and Human Services, United Connecticut Action for Neighborhoods, Rambuh Family Center, and Hartford Food System worked for several months to establish this market.
The market accepts SNAP and WIC, which help low-income families with young children purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Market hours are 10 AM until 1 PM every Wednesday from late June until the end of October. The North End Farmers Market is located in front of the North End Senior Center at 80 Coventry Street, near the Tower Avenue/Coventry Street intersection.