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Sunapee Farmers’ Market: Food, Family, Friends, and Fun In The Harbor

Jun 16, 2024 08:39PM ● By Susan Nye Photography By Lars Blackmore

Summer is all too short but ever so sweet in New Hampshire. A longtime favorite with all lucky enough to visit, Lake Sunapee and the surrounding countryside are truly magical. The very lucky actually live here. From the unofficial start of summer on Memorial Day weekend through to Labor Day, we do our best to enjoy every special minute. Warm, sunny days and balmy nights guarantee that we spend as much of our time outdoors as possible. Thanks to the Saturday morning Sunapee Farmers’ Market in the Harbor, we can even do our weekend shopping outside.

Originally initiated under Project Sunapee, the farmers’ market enters its fourth year this summer. The two nonprofit organizations continue to share key ideals and goals of strengthening community and encouraging economic vitality. The Sunapee Farmers’ Market was proud to be named the 2024 Nonprofit of the Year by the Lake Sunapee Region Chamber of Commerce.

Supporting Agriculture and Artisans

Although a great success from the get-go, the market did not start under the most auspicious of circumstances. “We are grateful for the farmers and other vendors who joined us in 2021,” says Kelly Webb, Sunapee Farmers’ Market committee chair and farmer at Harding Hill Farm. She explains, “COVID was still lurking and there were a lot of uncertainties. Thankfully, plenty of locals and vacationers were all too happy to shop outside.”

This year’s group of vendors is the strongest yet with a full roster of delicious, locally grown and prepared food. To ensure it remains a farmers’ market, 65 percent of the stalls are reserved for food growers. These farmers are dedicated to bringing you fresh vegetables, fruit, herbs, flowers, eggs, maple products, wine, meats, and poultry. You will also find foods prepared by talented local artisans and chefs. There is a variety of fresh bread and baked goods, jams, jellies, and pickles. You can even buy meals to go for those too-busy-to-cook nights. In addition, each week two or three craftspeople share their wares. 

“Our goal is to support local agriculture and artisans,” says Kelly. To that end, all vendors must grow, cook, and craft their goods within 75 miles of Sunapee. A wonderful addition to any town, farmers’ markets make food shopping personal again. They are a great way to connect shoppers with the individuals and families who grow their zucchinis and chickens and bake their breads and pies.

The Sunapee Farmers’ Market welcomes some of the country’s newest residents and soon-to-be citizens. Fresh Start Farms is a collective of farmers from New Hampshire’s Somali-Bantu, Congolese, Burundi, and Rwandan refugee and immigrant communities. The collective sells produce through a CSA, at farmers’ markets, and at neighborhood farm stands as well as wholesale to local schools and businesses. Fresh Start Farms farmers bring both cultural diversity and rich agricultural experience to New Hampshire.

Connect with the Community

More than shopping, there’s fun for everyone. Saturdays in the Harbor are busy and bustling. Come early for coffee or breakfast. Stay after the market and peruse the Harbor shops, enjoy lunch, and people watch. The market and the Harbor are filled with wonderful opportunities to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.

Last summer the market moved to Ben Mere Park. In addition to having more room, the gazebo provides an excellent stage for weekly musical performances. Many of the region’s favorite musicians will be on stage this summer. Musical highlights include JD and the Stonemasons, the Occasional Jug Band, Second Wind with Suzi Hastings and Terry Gould, and a special performance (or two) from the New London Barn Playhouse interns. 

You’ll find more than vegetables and music in the Harbor at two art shows hosted by the Center for the Arts. The outdoor Arts in the Harbor show is one day only on Saturday, July 13. The juried show features a wide variety of local fine arts and crafts, including paintings, photography, prints, sculpture, pottery, fine jewelry, fiber arts, wood, metal, and stone. Art in the Harbor will be held rain or shine with tents providing ample protection for the artists, artwork, and visitors. 

Naturally New England is indoors at the Livery from July 12 to 21. The juried, fine-art exhibit attracts talented artists from New Hampshire and Vermont. You will enjoy landscapes and wildlife paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and mixed media. Artist styles range from realism to abstract.

Fun for Everyone

No need to find a babysitter; bring the children. The Sunapee Farmers’ Market committee has thought of everything, including a kids’ program. Each week, Kids Activities Manager Lilliana Gurney organizes a different craft project, game, or activity. Geared to children 10 and under, all programs are free and, best of all, fun. Your children will have a wonderful time with paper art, sign painting, fairy houses, lawn games, and much more. 

And finally, yes, you can find a parking spot! One of the great myths of Saturday mornings in the Harbor is that you can never find parking. Along with street parking (which goes pretty fast), there are free lots adjacent to Ben Mere Park as well as on River Road. Support New Hampshire farms—shop and eat local this summer!

Sunapee Farmers’ Market

Ben Mere Park in Sunapee Harbor
Sunapee, NH

May 25–August 31 (rain or shine), 
9 am–12 pm

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