by Michele Collins
The Hudson Farmers Market is back for 2023 with as many as 45 vendors per week, making it the place to be on Hudson Saturday mornings from June 3-Oct. 7. The market offers not only locally grown produce but also flowers, gifts, organic products like honey and bee products and an opportunity to see neighbors, friends and favorite sellers on a regular basis.
Designed to help retain the special character of downtown, the Hudson Farmers Market began as a collaborative volunteer effort between community leaders, civic-minded residents and Leadership Hudson, a program sponsored by The Rotary Club of Hudson Clock Tower. The Leadership Hudson Class of 2006-2007 adopted the Hudson Farmers Market as its class project. Today, it is its own nonprofit organization, run by a board and managed by J. Hudson.
According to Hudson, the market has more than doubled its size over the years. Starting with just 15 vendors on the Clock Tower Green, the market first expanded to the Gazebo Green in 2019. Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the market had to incorporate Church Street as well to allow for social distancing. Hudson said, “that is the year our attendence really increased.”
For Hudson, running the market is a year-round job. As soon as one market season ends, he is working on the next, talking to potential vendors, working with current vendors to bring them back and conferring with the city of Hudson to make sure his dates are on the city’s calendar.
Then on market days, he is up with, well, the roosters.
“I wake up at 5:30 a.m. I get to a local coffee shop at 6 a.m., read emails, check the weather, respond to text or calls from vendors, check social media. At 6:45, I pick up our tents, tables and other equipment from our storage unit.
“About 7a.m., my assistant meets me and loads up her vehicle and we get to the greens. We set up our tents, and then I start checking the grounds for problems and start greeting and photographing the day’s produce to post to social media,” he said.
The market starts at 9 a.m., at which time Hudson and his staff have already put in quite a few hours of work. But, he said, when the market opens, and the “regulars” return, that is when the fun really begins.
The friendly hellos from the returning customers, the surprised faces of first-timers when they see the breadth of available items, and kids enjoying a chance to be outside, and maybe, just maybe, get a special treat if they behave – are the things that make running a farmers market special, according to Hudson.
The market ends at 12:30 p.m., when most of the produce is already gone. By 1:30 p.m., the market is down, the vendors have packed up and Hudson and his volunteers are tired.
Hudson said the original goal of the organization – to establish a self-sustaining, self-managed nonprofit market to benefit local and surrounding communities, artisan producers and small businesses – has been met. The ongoing mission is to continue to be self-sustaining, he said.
To find out more about the Hudson Farmers Market, visit hudsonfarmersmarket.org. ∞
FEATURED PHOTO: Area vendors will sell their fresh produce and homemade goods along Main Street each Saturday until Oct. 7, as part of the perennial Hudson Farmers Market. Photo submitted.