Over an eight-week season in September and October, local farmers and other vendors filled Harlow Circle at the Fay School Farmers Market, selling their wares to campus residents and members of the local community.
The venture came together thanks to an enthusiastic committee of faculty and staff, who not only volunteered their time on Saturday mornings but also recruited vendors and publicized the event.
“In talking to other faculty and staff who live on campus, we realized that there were many of us who care about sustain- ability and wanted to have a farmers market nearby,” says Upper School history teacher and Service Learning Coordinator Emily McCauley, who serves as a dorm parent in the Village Dorms along with her husband, Tim. After a spring pilot market and a busy few weeks of preparation and publicity, the market was born.
Vendors sold a broad array of goods, including produce, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, baked goods, and handmade crafts. Chestnut Hill Farm, a local organic farm administered by the nonprofit Trustees of Reservations, was an anchor vendor, setting up shop for the full eight weeks. Students in Fay’s Greenhouse Club even got in on the act, selling basil plants and other herbs and donating the proceeds to Community Harvest Project, a local nonprofit supplying organic produce to neighbors in need.
Close to the action, boarding students enjoyed waking up to Saturday mornings, where they could wander down to the market and pick up a fresh-baked muffin or a ham-and-cheese crepe prepared on the spot. Many boarders also opted to volunteer at the market, assisting vendors or running games and face painting activities for younger children.
Like many farmers markets, Emily notes, the Fay School Farmers Market was successful in that it served a range of purposes. “The market was a real-world example to our students of how communities can foster sustainability by supporting local vendors, and it also helped to build Fay’s connections with the broader Southborough community. Food is a great way to bring people together.”
Vendor Spotlight: Papa’s Catch Salmon
If you stopped by the Fay Farmers Market this fall, perhaps you purchased some delicious, wild-caught salmon from Papa’s Catch Salmon, which is owned and operated by Fay’s own Josh Pierson. Josh has been a member of Fay’s faculty since 2004, and he currently serves as one of Fay’s secondary school placement counselors. But for the past 18 years, he has also headed to the Pacific Northwest each summer to live on a boat and fish for salmon.
For the past six years, Josh has been running his own boat, and Papa’s Catch has been in operation for the past year. Josh cares deeply about Bristol Bay, where he fishes from June to august each year. “It’s one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world because of strict regulations set up by biologists in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game,” he explains.
Josh is intimately involved with every step of the process, from pulling the nets to selling the fish. Through his website and local farmers markets, Josh is excited about being able to share his catch with a broader community. “We get to eat the most amazing food every day on the boat,” he says, “and I want other people to be able to experience that.”
You can learn more about Papa’s Catch at papascatchsalmon.com.