Large empty buildings, like the Strand Theatre in Rutland, can haunt a downtown — battered husks of a more prosperous time. But this particular building was about to be saved.
Over in nearby Depot Park, a group of farmers, growers and vendors had been holding a lively Summer Farmers Market for years, spurred along by Vermont's emerging local-food movement. Gradually, an idea took shape: If carrots could sell in July, why not in January? Why not start a Winter Farmers Market?
Greg Cox, the owner of Boardman Hill Farm in West Rutland, joined with other summer market vendors and arranged a lease with the local owner of the Strand Theatre. Then, with support from city officials, they began reviving the place.
The market launched in the winter of 2007–2008 and quickly demonstrated the synergy that can occur when Vermont farmers, Vermont food consumers and a Vermont downtown meet in one place.
The Rutland Winter Farmers Market features vegetable growers (lots of root crops), craftspeople, bakers, orchardists, weavers, vintners, even Asian takeout (Young-la's garlicky Korean noodles are often gone by noon).
It is open Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., November through April, 77 Wales St., Rutland, VT. (802) 438-9803.
Learn more about Farmers’ Market locations across the state.