July 28, 2014

Farmers

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Hearing set on credit union proposal

By Greg Elias
Observer staff

A local financial institution has filed an application for a farmers’ market near its Taft Corners headquarters. Meanwhile, a resident firmed up plans for her own market in Williston Village.

New England Federal Credit Union wants to host a farmers’ market on a grassy one-acre site next to its building on Harvest Lane. The credit union last week applied for a town permit.

Williston resident Christina Mead is lining up vendors for her market on the town green next to Dorothy Alling Library. She has received Selectboard approval for the proposal, but must still obtain a permit, town planning staff members said.

New England Federal Credit Union plans to operate its market on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., said Cindy Morgan, NEFCU’s marketing manager. The market is scheduled to open by the end of June or the beginning of July.

The credit union is waiting to see if it receives a site plan permit before determining the precise number and types of vendors, Morgan said.

“We want to know for sure we’re going to do this,” she said. “It’s kind of premature at this point.”

However, Morgan said, the market will have an emphasis on locally grown produce. Some prepared foods and arts and crafts could also be sold.

The credit union’s application indicates that it will reserve a portion of its parking lot for a vendors’ staging area. Morgan said the parking lot also has space for both credit union and farmers’ market customers.

Though it may seem an odd combination, Morgan has said a farmers’ market is actually a good fit with the credit union’s mission to serve the community as a nonprofit. The market could also attract new customers to the credit union.

Mead was initially worried that Williston was not large enough to support two markets. But after talking to Morgan and potential vendors, she was convinced her proposal would still work.

“They didn’t think it was an issue because they are on opposite days,” Mead said.

The market in Williston Village will operate on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mead said. It will open July 7 and run through Oct. 13.

She has already started to sign up vendors. Offerings will include fruits and vegetables, homemade sauces and marinades, flatbread pizza and jewelry.

The idea, Mead said, is to have enough variety to appeal to a wide range of customers. Her only requirement for vendors is that they sell goods made or grown in Vermont.

“We’ll have some really cool, different vendors,” Mead said, noting that she hopes the market will also provide a place for residents to socialize.

The Development Review Board is scheduled to consider New England Federal Credit Union’s application for the farmers’ market on Tuesday, April 24. The hearing begins at 8:15 p.m.

Christina Mead is still seeking vendors for her farmers’ market. Mead invites interested vendors to call her at 872-7728 or send e-mail to [email protected]

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