It is almost impossible to believe that Labor Day is less than one week away, kids are going back to school and summer has come to a close. Each summer seems to fly by faster and faster, and they say that’s what happens as you age, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept. Despite my grumblings regarding summers end, I must say, that it has been a fantastic couple of months. Our wonderful town has offered so much (First Fridays, the Ambler Farmers’ Market, the Ambler Arts & Music Festival, Restaurant Week, Dog Days, and more), and I’ve collected many great memories to reflect upon.
Without question, the best thing that happened to me this summer is the opening of the Ambler Farmers’ Market. As one of the founders, I have been working on this project since July of 2012, and have spent months wondering what the market would be like and how the community would respond. In my wildest dreams, I don’t think I could have imagined the reality of the market. We opened June 1st to an AMAZING crowd, the community came out in droves to support the market, and were thrilled to be able to shop for fresh, local food in downtown Ambler. I quickly realized that not only was the market a place to shop for food, but a community gathering place. Countless people were greeting one another and embracing; I commonly overheard “Oh my gosh, I haven’t seen you in years!” Members of our community talked and caught up with one another, meeting newest the members of the family (sometimes four legged) and made plans to meet later in town for dinner or a drink. Folks were just plain happy to be there.
As you probably know, the market offers a place for kids to hang out and do activities, live music and an educational series each week. Seeing children reconnect with school friends on the kids quilt, as well as making new ones, has been priceless. I have also learned quite a bit from the various speakers we have had thus far. A hay garden was introduced to me while learning about composting, both I hope to incorporate at my home next year. Meeting Theo, the six week old “kid” from our goat farm, holding baby chicks and being mesmerized by the sweetest baby gosling (in Marie’s arms, left) were certainly highlights, as well. Music is a big part of my life and I am so moved that our wonderful musicians graciously volunteer their time each week to make for a more enjoyable shopping experience. Our farmers and vendors are all so wonderful, knowledgeable and friendly. In fact, shopping at the market in and of itself can be an education! Learning about how the crops are grown and the animals raised, you can really feel the love that goes into the product that they bring to market. Shopping there has also exposed me to some foods that I’ve never tried before resulting in exciting culinary adventures in my kitchen. I may have put on a few extra lbs eating blueberry scones for breakfast every weekend, but it was worth every bite!
Another wonderful aspect of the market is our relationship with the Mattie Dixon Community Cupboard. Each Saturday at the close of the market, Mattie Dixon volunteers arrive to pick up very generous amounts of food donated by our farmers. The cupboard commonly gets canned goods and non-perishable items, but with the market in town, they are able to offer their customers a great variety of fresh produce, breads and more!
On a more personal note, working on (and at) the market has been one of the most rewarding things that I’ve ever been a part of. Witnessing the benefit and life that it has brought to the community and being a part of something that I feel is vital to Ambler’s continued growth brings me a tremendous amount of joy. I have also made some incredible friendships along the way that I know will stand the test of time. Speaking not as an Ambler Main Street volunteer, but as someone who has come to appreciate the value of being involved in our community, I encourage you to think about how and where you can engage.
Although there is no denying the end of summer, fortunately, the market will be open for a few more months and I look forward to seeing you there!