Let’s get this straight from the get-go: we absolutely love the Woodstock Farmers’ Market. Not only are they our neighbors (a mere minute down the street), but we also hold the products and people there in very high regard. The market has certainly been a mainstay, ever since our first days at the Jackson House Inn. It’s a pleasant experience each and every time we go, even in their bustling afternoon lunch hour. And as the food-obsessed innkeepers we are, it’s convenient for us to make a quick run to the Farmers’ Market whenever we need some fresh vegetables or micro greens for a morning breakfast plate. Beautiful wines, artisanal cheeses, quality meats, and the most satisfying sandwiches – the Woodstock Farmers’ Market truly has it all.
Amelia and Patrick are the two behind this market today. In 1992, Patrick’s father and stepmother were living in Woodstock after retiring from the publishing business in Washington, DC. Unable to obtain some of their favorite foods locally, they decided to purchase an existing farm stand to start sourcing and selling the products they loved. It appears these foodies were ahead of their time! “The food movement hadn’t yet taken off in Vermont,” Amelia says. “At the time, it was only famous for Ben & Jerry’s and Cabot Cheese.” Oh, how things would change…
Vermont is a natural fit for a business like the Woodstock Farmers’ Market. Amelia explains, “We grew up with the burgeoning local food movement, and we were in the right place at the right time to represent hundreds of small, independent growers and food producers from our state and beyond.” Boy, do we love to hear this – a local market proudly supporting the yield of their fellow growers and artisans. “Vermont’s small scale makes it easy for us to both embrace and represent,” Amelia says. Size, as well as the state’s “green” persona, reflects the market’s ethos.
In true Vermont fashion, the community tends to inspire Amelia and Patrick as well. “Woodstock has embraced us since the beginning, and we never tire of hearing the comments about how integral we are to people’s lives.” This is definitely true for us here at the Jackson House Inn, and for most of our local friends too. We can always count on the Woodstock Farmers’ Market to have all the latest and greatest on the Vermont food scene. In addition, we feel confident in the fact that any product we find there is the best and freshest around. We’ve grown to trust and admire the market since our move here. The same can be said for many Woodstock locals. “We’ve been here long enough that new babies we met have grown up to become staff members during high school and college,” Amelia says. The community truly showed their love for the market in their effort to reopen the business after Tropical Storm Irene hit in 2011. Situated on the banks of the Ottauquechee River, the Woodstock Farmers’ Market suffered considerable damage. However, the community worked their tails off to help the market reopen their doors in just eleven weeks!
The Woodstock Farmers’ Market spends a lot of time sourcing products, and this effort shows. We are obviously big fans of the variety of goods available there. From specialty items, such as cheese sausages from the Jasper Hill Farm and Pete’s Greens collaboration, to local artisanal brands, like Big Picture Farm caramels and Red Kite Candy, the market has a knack for bringing in the most quality and in-trend products. So what contributes to this stellar selection? Half the time, samples are submitted by producers out of the blue. Some of the time, customers or friends request certain products. And the rest of the time, “we travel, read food media, and follow leads.” Hear more in their promotional video here.
Amelia is aware that she and the rest of the market staff are always learning to better the business. “This past year,” she says, “we introduced Open Book Finance to our organization, involving the whole staff in our accountability and success.” The market is also revamping their training program and consulting other businesses who like they way they run things. Ultimately, everything the market does comes down to quality service. “We only hire nice people, and we require everyone to give great service to our customers and one another.” They subscribe to the philosophy of servant leadership: it is up to the owners to serve the managers, and the managers to serve the front line staff. “We lead by example, believe in personal responsibility, and don’t ask anyone to do something we wouldn’t do ourselves. It’s a matter of integrity, and underlies everything we do.” These values are evident amongst the staff itself. Smiling faces and kind voices are abundant throughout the WFM team – a visibly happy bunch! Without a doubt, the Woodstock Farmers’ Market is on to something special, as both a workplace and destination.
We can’t speak highly enough about the Woodstock Farmers’ Market, their team, and products. We’re choosing to round out this feature with a few of our recommendations you can find at the market the next time you visit. For special occasions, we highly suggest the Meinklang sparkling rosé. Hungry for breakfast? We like to grab a Mt. Tom breakfast sandwich. Looking to eat lunch? We tend to go for a sandwich (#2 Moonlight in Vermont or #13 Ann’s California Roll-Up) or the kale salad. The baked goods are freshly made and to die for – especially the whoopie pies. Don’t forget to peruse the cheese section (Jasper Hill, Vermont Creamery, and Blue Ledge Farm galore!). All in all, it’s hard to go wrong at this market. Let your foodie inhibitions free and get excited about your next visit to the Woodstock Farmers’ Market!