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May 23, 2013

Derry farmers market director said all is a go

Budget cut means future is uncertain

(Continued)

“It was not our intention to cancel the farmers market,” Osborne said. “I would like to see the market staying open.”

Councilor Tom Cardon also voted to cut market funding.

“We reduced the funding, we did not close the farmers market,” he said.

The market is officially funded through June 30, the end of the fiscal year. The $5,000 annual budget kicks in July 1. Where it goes after that is still up in the air.

“What that $5,000 won’t get you is a winter market or a market next year,” Town Administrator John Anderson said.

Anderson said the market has been successful in many ways, including bringing more people to Derry.

Others feel differently, including one of its earliest supporters.

Phil Ferdinando of J&F Farms said he would not be returning to the downtown market this summer, citing lower attendance and smaller profits.

“The first year was good, the second year I think attendance dropped so it wasn’t as good, and last year was terrible,” he said. “It’s just not worth doing.”

Ferdinando was part of the grassroots market planning process. The original idea was to keep the event visible and downtown.

“It was supposed to be part of the downtown revitalization,” he said. “But nobody wants to go downtown. When the market was new, people made the effort.”

Councilor Neil Wetherbee voted to keep the market’s budget intact. He said Ferrante was doing a good job.

“It’s just a great community event that we seem to be losing more and more of in today’s world,” he said. “It’s part of the reason I was so frustrated to see it’s potential demise, which we still may see after September.”

Wetherbee said it might be time to step back and re-evaluate the market.

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