WE ARE HOMETOWN NEWS.

Some of the fresh produce available at the market.
Reminder Publishing photo by Trent Levakis

HOLYOKE — The Holyoke Farmers Market has returned and kicked off its 45th season over two days on June 11 and 12, marking another year of serving the greater Holyoke community with accessible, fresh produce.

Now open throughout the summer from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday at Veterans Park and Wednesday at Holyoke Medical Center Lot D, the two weekly markets adds to the overall commitment of accessibility and offering a diverse range of products at affordable prices by the Holyoke Farmers Market.

Since its inception, the Holyoke Farmers Market has been a vital hub for both residents and farmers alike, fostering connections and promoting sustainability. With its 45th season kick off, the market reaffirms its commitment to providing high quality, locally sourced fruits, vegetables and other goods to residents in Holyoke and surrounding areas.

“The Holyoke Farmers Market continues to grow and expand as we aim to better serve the community’s needs and provide greater access to locally grown and produced items,” said Market Manager Alexis Diaz Dejesus. “Farming and community have been passions of mine for years, which is what drew me originally to this position. I am grateful to have such strong community partners that can continue our dedication to ensuring that everyone in our community has access to fresh, nutritious produce.”

Diaz said the market allows for people to be educated about healthy eating lifestyle habits and the resources that are available in the city. He added it is an opportunity for connection in the city.

For over 10 years the Holyoke Farmers Market has operated under the Greater Holyoke Chamber and has undergone some transformations over the years after many years struggling to be a self-sustaining program.

“With the market as the hub for Holyoke’s local food economy, we have been grateful to bring on strong partners like Holyoke Health Center, Holyoke Medical Center and new this year, Greenfield Cooperative Bank. It’s through working together as a team to make sure that we are fulfilling our mission to support local agriculture and healthy communities by strengthening and promoting access to fresh, local food for all people. The chamber is beyond proud of its successes and cannot wait to see it continue to flourish,” said Chamber Executive Director Jordan Hart.

Diaz Dejesus told Reminder Publishing the chamber has been fully supportive and has smoothed operations and helped create a better market in every aspect.

“It brings the farmers market to the business world. Resources, organizations, that’s where the chamber comes into play. Connecting the city together and making sure this is a good time,” Diaz Dejesus said.

Greenfield Cooperative Bank now leads as the premier Market Day sponsor and President adn CEO of Greenfield Northampton Cooperative Bank Tony Worden said its an honor to be part of the continued success in the community.

“We’re committed to supporting initiatives that promote healthy living and economic sustainability. The Holyoke Farmers Market provides a vital platform for our local farmers, strengthens our food system and allows our neighbors access to nutritious quality produce,” Worden said.

Holyoke Medical Center’s Community Benefits Director Lisa Wray Schechterle said access to healthy food was a need identified in the center’s last community health needs assessment.

“By providing a farmers market, we’re increasing access to healthy food to the community in immediate neighborhoods, to patients coming for appointments and to employees. In addition, the same two free shuttles the hospital provides for patients to get to their appointments can be used to access the market. The shuttles run throughout the city with stops at Holyoke Health Center, several apartment buildings, the YMCA, the Holyoke Senior Center and can be used to access both the Tuesday and Wednesday markets. The transportation schedule is available at www.holyokehealth.com/ride.”

In addition to providing access to fresh produce, the Holyoke Farmers Market serves as a vibrant community space where neighbors can gather, share stories and celebrate local culture. Live music, cooking demonstrations and educational workshops are just a few of the events that have established the market as a community destination.

“As we celebrate our 45th season, we reflect on the incredible journey that has brought us to this point,” said Diaz Dejesus. “But our work is far from over. We remain committed to fostering a healthier, more vibrant community for generations to come.”

Diaz Dejesus added the opportunity to be market manager has made him grateful as he can help steer city efforts for healthier food options through the community gathering.

“I grew up in South Holyoke, I saw variations of the farmers market as a kid. So, to being able to put my input and make sure my people are represented through using my voice, it’s been an amazing experience to talk to people and have meaningful conversations. Everything about the Holyoke Farmers Market is super meaningful and I definitely love connecting with the community.”