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The Sally Frank's Farmers' Market provides residents of Melrose and neighboring communities with the opportunity to buy and learn about the benefits of nutritious, locally grown and produced foods. The market intends to build community and promote local farms while contributing to a sustainable future. With an assortment of farmers, handmade food producers, artisans, non-profit organizations, local businesses, entertainers, and educational groups participating each week, the market aims to: (1) Provide fresh, local, wholesome food directly from farmers to residents; (2) Promote the creation and consumption of locally produced foods; (3) Help prevent hunger and improve access to healthful food among disadvantaged members of the community; (4) Provide a forum for issues of local importance, including educational and other non-profit groups; and (5) Educate participants about the nutritional, environmental, and economic implications of the food we eat.
The Sally Frank's Farmers Market (SFFM) began in 1994 when Melrose resident, Sally Frank, wanted to have fresh local produce for her family. The market developed slowly behind City Hall with a following that, at its peak, reached about 400 retired folks and other residents who were able to go to the market between 10 am and 3 pm. Since 2005, many dedicated volunteers have worked to increase the number of farmers and other vendors, change the hours to make the market more available to residents who work outside of the city during the day, and establish a new location to enhance the accessibility and overall experience for residents and vendors alike.
The SFFM currently runs an outdoor summer market from 3 pm to 7 pm each Thursday from June to October, and an indoor monthly Sunday winter market from 11 am to 3 pm, November to April. Both markets are close to the downtown area, commuter rail and public bus lines. Close to 20 regular vendors offer a wide variety of fresh, local produce, fresh fish, grass-fed meats, poultry, eggs, cheese, maple syrup, honey, granola, yogurt, locally prepared foods, and handmade crafts. We also have live music each week and offer tastings and other activities for kids at our children's tent. The market has more than doubled its size since its original founding, and now serves 600 to 800 residents each week. The market began accepting SNAP benefits in 2012 to offer low income members of the community the chance to access nutritious, locally and sustainably produced food.