As the cold weather closes in, Russell’s Winter Market just starts to thrive. Customers stroll from table to table, sampling different foods, chatting with vendors and toting large bags filled with a variety of items. The market opened in 2010 when Lewis Russell’s daughter, Elizabeth Russell Skehan, noticed how dull the town grew during the winter. In its early years, the market occupied just one room, but it has now expanded into the adjoining greenhouse.
Vendor Beckah Restivo cares about her product and promotes healthy choices. Her product is artisan almond butter and is made in batches of only ten jars. The almond butter is also vegan, paleo, Whole30 compliant, keto compliant and gluten-free.
“It is just a passion of mine to eat healthily and be healthy, and this is a very healthy alternative to peanut butter,” Restivo said.
Michael Docter, one of the first vendors to sell at the Russell’s Winter Market, comes back to the market each year for a different reason than Restivo.
“I started selling here because they we’re looking to [give] people good quality root crops in the wintertime,” Docter said. “We have a loyal customer base here that comes here for our products. I would have to say that my favorite part is seeing customers smile.”
Some customers do more than window shop. Nancy Gagnon collects ideas for her farmers market in Newton. She says that the numerous produce stands and prepared food vendors provide inspiration.
“We’ve been coming for a few years [to this market],” Gagnon said. “We represent the Newton farmer’s market, so we are looking at this to see how they [run the market]. I think the variety that they have [is nice]. They are also very inclusive [and] have tons of different types of people here.”
Whether you are a customer, vendor or employee at Russell’s winter market, many agree that the market is filled with great food and people and has a fun atmosphere.
“The people are awesome, the vendors are amazing and the traffic is really good,” Restivo said. “This is one of our best markets we do all year.”
Loyal shoppers are enthusiastic about the market, so they help draw new customers in. Leslie Cronin has been coming to the market since its opening and still enjoys attending.
“I would say that this is a great way to try different vendors and a lot of different products,” Cronin said. “It has a fun atmosphere, and I think everybody should come.”
Russell’s market is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until March 14 in the greenhouse.