Winter Farmers Market on tap

Event open Wednesdays from 3-6 p.m.

Photo by LORETTA JACKSON Don Miner, organizer of the Merrimack Winter Farmers Market and a member of the Merrimack Agricultural Commission, right, supplies Kelly Swan, of Nashua, and her son, Lucas, age 2, with some savory sausage from his business, Miner Family Farm, of Merrimack.

The Winter Farmers Market in Merrimack is open until next summer. It is open on Wednesdays, 3-6 p.m., at the John O’Leary Adult Community Center, 4 Church St. A variety of vendors welcomed first-night visitors during its debut on Wednesday, Nov. 7.

There, beef, pork and chicken portions for sale rested in frozen glory within a big cooler. Hydroponic greens wore cellophane wraps, as might a floral bouquet Cod and pollock and monkfish, along with skate and sole, freshly caught at dawn by two area fishermen, found buyers. Bakery and cookies were big sellers.

Don Miner, owner of Miner Family Farm in Merrimack, is a member of the Merrimack Agricultural Commission, the market’s sponsor. It was his cooler that sheltered the meats – steaks, chops, burgers and chickens. He is the organizer of the winter market and noted that the enterprise is ongoing weekly until the summer market opens in June at Vault Motor Storage, on Daniel Webster Highway.

“We’re off to a great start offering local products to the community,” Miner said. “We’ll have a number of new vendors and the winter location, adjacent to the Merrimack Library, has lots of free parking.”

Kelly Swan and her son, Lucas, age 2, arrived from Nashua and went home with some spicy sausage from Miner. Nearby, Gavin Williams, co-owner with his dad, Ross Williams, of Victory Aquaponics, in Londonderry, filled an order for Louise Koutavas, of Merrimack, whose yen for salad fixings was well appeased.

Photo by LORETTA JACKSON Merrimack shopper Ian Felder, left, buys fish from Karl Day and Alex McMorran, right, owners of New England Fishmongers, a Portsmouth enterprise offering “fish caught by fishermen,” selections including cod, pollock, skate and sole, harvested with rod and reel, one fish at a time.

Elsewhere, Karl Day and Alex McMorran, of New England

Fishmongers, wrapped some monkfish for Ian Felder, of Merrimack. Photos were shared of a huge cod wrangled during a foray aboard the “Finlander,” a fishing boat out of Portsmouth. The partners sail mostly every day to catch fish the old-fashioned way, one at a time. Chefs from hotels and restaurants are patrons.

“We are fishermen selling fish,” said McMorran. “They’re wild-caught by us with gear from Kittery Trading Post in Maine – and now we’re bringing our fish right to the people.”

Meanwhile, Don and Joy Grant, of Merrimack, displayed their Real Time Pain Relief products, creams and lotions made from witch hazel, peppermint oil, aloe vera and the like. Market visitors Dan and Anita Memos, of Merrimack, attended the opening. Joy told them the products are made with the “same ingredients grandmother used.”

Shoppers also patronized Melissa Civilik, who with her father, Frank Badolato, owns Francesco’s Cookie Werks, based in Derry. The pastries are legacy recipes from her great-great grandfather. Many sported slivers of almonds or bits of pistachio.

Photo by LORETTA JACKSON Gavin Williams, co-owner with his dad, Ross Williams, of Victory Aquaponics in Londonderry, sells some of his supply of water-grown bok choy, watercress and lettuce to Merrimack’s Louise Koutavas, who likes her salad greens fresh.

“They’re from recipes we enjoyed growing up,” Civilik said of the wares. “People on Facebook and Instagram tell us our baking brings back wonderful memories.”

Miner sampled a slice of a Francesco’s biscotti. The crunch was audible.

“The winter farmers market offers a chance to try new products made by locals,” said Miner. “You’ll be talking to the people who actually make the products.”

Photo by LORETTA JACKSON Anita and Dan Memos, left, of Merrimack, hear from locals Don and Joy Grant about Real Time Pain Relief, a collection of lotions, creams and other produced with natural ingredients the couple offers for sale at the winter farmers market.

Photo by LORETTA JACKSON Melissa Civilik, co-owner of Francesco’s Cookie Werks, of Derry, displays some of the cookies and biscotti and gluten-free options baked by her and her father, company co-owner Frank Badolato, whose collection of recipes were invented by Melissa’s great-great grandfather.