October 17, 2019

Farmers’ market sprouting at Kismet Place

By Jason Starr
Observer staff

Williston’s nomadic farmers’ market, on hiatus for the past two seasons, has a new champion in Sharon Gutwin.  The RehabGYM and Kismet Place owner has organized a group  of volunteers to help launch a farmers’ market this summer to be located outside the Kismet building
— home to a mix of wellness-oriented businesses that opened last summer on Blair Park Road.

A committee of five met Tuesday  on the second floor of the building, overlooking the parking lot where Gutwin envisions about 12 growers and artisans setting up each Sunday afternoon from June through September.

Gutwin said she has already received encouraging interest from several local vendors and plans a concerted outreach in the coming weeks to solidify vendor commitments.

Rebecca Bergeron of Williston’sside New England Federal Credit Union on Harvest Lane. Catamount Outdoor Family Center picked up the cause for one season in 2015. Bergeron said attracting big enough crowds to make it worthwhile for vendors and retaining strong market management are the keys to a successful farmers’ market.

Scratch ‘n Earth Farm attended Tuesday’s meeting to learn about Gutwin’s plans and offer a perspective on previous incarnations of Williston’s farmers’ market, where she was a vendor.

Launched in 2007, Williston’s farmers’ market originally took place on the village green. Five years later, it was moved to a more trafficked location on the lawn outside.

“We’ve been through this as vendors from Williston. It was way more complicated than just goingand setting up your stuff … There are some politics to it that come up eventually.

It takes someone solid to manage it.” Stephanie Teeter, a new Williston resident who lives within walking distance of where the market is planned, agreed to help organize vendors. Pam Kozikowski and Nichole Malon, who both frequented previous Williston farmers’ markets, also offered to help launch this summer’s version.

“I want it to be what our farmers and artists need,” Gutwin said. “If we keep the vendors happy, then the people will be happy to be there.”

Gutwin is confident that if vendors are secured, she can use marketing channels she has already established through Kismet Place and RehabGYM to attract customers.

“Our sign will be on one of the busiest roads in Chittenden County,” she said, referring to Route 2A, which skirts the backside of the building.

“I think it’s an exciting location for a farmers’ market.”

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