From Ashland Town Pages, written by Cynthia Whitty

The Ashland Farmers Market (AFM) Opening Day is set for Saturday, June 13, with the Friends of the Ashland Library at the Community Table; hula hoops by A Simple Twist and face painting by Metrowest Face Painting. Railroad House Band is at the new Arts!Ashland Alliance Music Stage.

Six Reasons to Shop AFM
1. Fun, new food vendors. This season, there are nine new food vendors (35 total), bringing gourmet ice cream, artisan breads and scones, bagels, hand-cut pasta and homemade tomato sauce, freshly picked shiitake and oyster mushrooms, handcrafted wines and honey mead, hummus, tabouli and baba ganoush, and sweet and spicy sauce.
2. Exciting event days. Enjoy 11 exciting event days, including Strawberry Fest, 4th of July BBQ, Farm Day, Wine and Cheese Fest and a “Customer Appreciation” Lobster Fest, with enough lobster rolls for everyone, underwritten by the market’s new neighbor, Needham Bank.
3. New artisans and old favorites. Shop handmade jewelry, pottery, note cards, succulents, wall hangings, prints, handbags, tote bags, yarn, hoops, soaps, soy candles, scarves, mosaics, and more. There will be three to four artisans each week—25 in all this season.
4. A place to relax. Pause from your shopping to relax, meet neighbors, eat and listen to live music, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in an expanded shaded picnic area.
5. Match your SNAP. You can get $80 worth of free food every four weeks thanks to AFM’s $20 SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) match each week.
6. Ample parking. There is ample parking on Front Street, in the adjacent municipal lot, and nearby at town hall on Main St. and Mindess School on Concord St.

June Highlights
In June, visitors will be able to shop 27 food vendors and 4 different artisan vendors.
June 20, Green Your Scene: Sustainability Day will feature bike-to-market; free bike helmets; Solar Flair Energy, Inc.; Natick Organic Farm, with chickens; Transition Ashland; and the town’s Sustainability Committee and Department of Public Works. Visitors will learn ways to reduce their energy and water footprint.
June 27, Strawberry Fest: Visitors will be treated to the amazing flavor of ripe, locally grown strawberries: strawberry shortcake, strawberry ice cream, or just plain freshly picked strawberries! Patti of On the Edge Knife Sharpening will be here, and on each 4th Saturday of the month.

Got Baggage?
The AFM “Got Baggage” initiative eliminates plastic bags at the market. Striving to be part of a solution for plastic pollution, AFM is encouraging visitors to bring reusable shopping bags or borrow reusable bags from the Market Manager’s tent. Vendors will use BioBags® when needed.

Invitation to Bag It!, the Film, June 9
AFM and the Friends of the Ashland Library are partnering to show Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic? on Tuesday, June 9, 7 to 9 p.m. at the Ashland Library, Community Room, 66 Front St. The program is free and open to the public.
The film is a fascinating, sometimes humorous, sometimes shocking documentary that follows “everyman” Jeb Berrier as he navigates our plastic world.
According to the film, Americans use 60,000 plastic bags every five minutes, single-use disposable bags that are mindlessly thrown away. But where is ‘away?’ The film explores these questions: Where do the bags and other plastics end up, and at what cost to our environment, marine life and human health?
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