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Going Local - Middleton’s Macdonald Museum planning outdoor farm market starting in June

Macdonald Museum in Middleton could become the home of a weekly farm market this spring, summer, and fall. Museum director Janice Slauenwhite is hosting the market’s first organizing meeting at the museum for March 22 at 7 p.m.
Macdonald Museum in Middleton could become the home of a weekly farm market this spring, summer, and fall. Museum director Janice Slauenwhite is hosting the market’s first organizing meeting at the museum for March 22 at 7 p.m. - Lawrence Powell

March 22 meeting looks for input from vendors and the public

MIDDLETON - Fresh produce, baked bread, and even growlers of locally brewed craft beer might be served up on the front lawn of Macdonald Museum in Middleton as early as the first week in June.

The museum is hoping to start a farm market as the former old consolidated school looks to be more than bricks, mortar, and static historic displays and becomes a living, breathing part of the community.

On March 22 at 7 p.m. the museum at 21 School Street hosts a brainstorming session – and you’re invited.

“This is our initial planning meeting for a farm market here on the site of Macdonald Museum,” said museum director Janice Slauenwhite. “We want to get vendors and the public to come together and give input as to what day of the week, and what time they think that a farm market would work here.”

Accommodating a farm market is not a problem, and with a location just off the downtown core, Slauenwhite believes it can work.

“We have lots of space, lots of parking, we have public washrooms, we have everything we need to have a market here in the town,” she said. “We feel that Middleton’s a hub, and that Middleton and surrounding area can definitely support a farm market. Even if we were to have it on a day when there is another market we feel that traffic going through town and the area itself is enough to support a farm market.”

Buying Locally

“For me personally, if I can buy as much locally as possible I want to do that,” said Slauenwhite. “I don’t want to put the chemicals and the sprays and the preservatives into my body coming in from other countries. We should start supporting local, build a good base there. It makes sense. Buy local. We’ve got local farmers all over this area with wonderful fresh produce to share with us all and we need to di is create a space to sell that.”

While farm produce and products would be the basis of the market, it would be a lot more than beet greens and turnips. Slauenwhite envisions a variety of vendors with a plethora of products including bakery goods, crafts and artisan offerings, craft beer and local wine, and many other items too numerous to name.

“We would like to have bakers, crafts people, anything local like that,” Slauenwhite said. “We would have to say it would be first come first served in signing up for space in case we run out – but we do have a lot of space for vendors here. We hope that people would bring their own tables, but we do have some tables available.”

Gathering Place

“We’re hoping for food vendors so people can come and have lunch,” she said. “We have our lovely front lawn here with the beautiful trees so it will be nice and cool on hot days. And we have some picnic tables on site where people can sit – the town is providing those.”

She sees the socializing aspect of the market as an important component of a weekly gathering she hopes will become a tradition. Key to that would be great local music, and if musicians show up at the March 22 organizing meeting, so much the better.

“We are very interested in having entertainment, so people who are interested in sharing their musical talents should let us know that as well,” she said.

Volunteers to help the market run smoothly are also important, and those interested in playing a role should attend the meeting. Slauenwhite wants the museum to become more involved in the life of the town and that means people becoming more involved in the life of the museum.

“I’ve been with the museum since last summer. My goal and focus here at Macdonald Museum is to not only create great exhibits for people to come and visit but also to be a part of the community -- to be a community hub – a place where the community is welcome to come for various workshops and all these kinds of things too,” she said. “We felt that by bringing people in for a farm market we could do a service for the community – this is our goal, serving the community.”

She said the farm market is one more thing the museum can do.

“If we sit here and all we have is exhibits, and we’re not alive, what’s the point,” she asked. “We want to be a living, breathing part of the community -- and serve the community in whatever way we can.”


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