By Judy Wakefield
---- — There will be many new faces in the crowd when the Andover Farmers Market opens for its seventh season on Saturday.
The Andover Historical Society, which hosts the market on the lawn of its headquarters on Main Street, is also granting the public its wish for an earlier start time and expanded hours.
The market’s opening has been moved up by two hours and will stay open an hour longer. The new hours will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 5. The previous hours were 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Carrie Midura of the Andover Historical Society said shoppers have been consistently requesting an earlier market time. She said the market has evolved into a “community event” and the society was happy to change the hours to accommodate the interest.
“This change in time will not only allow those who could not attend in the past to come, but the extended hours give everyone a better chance of attending,” she said.
As for the market itself, the public will find products that are locally grown or naturally made in Massachusetts and the surrounding region.
“This allows consumers to purchase healthier alternatives to the mass-produced and manufactured foods and products,” Midura said.
This year’s market will feature more than 20 vendors offering a variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables, baked goods, cheeses, wine and more, as well as crafts.
Returning favorites include Boston Hill Farm, Swissbakers, Gaouette Farm, Goodies Homemade, Farmer Dave and Turtle Creek Winery. Leading the newcomers, meanwhile, are Chris’s Farmstand of Haverhill, Karley’s Just Bee-Cause, Sweet Lydia’s and Kernos Mediterranean Kitchen.
In addition, the market will also showcase live musical entertainment and demonstrations, and various community groups, such as Andover Village Improvement Society, will be manning booths as well. The Farmers Market Manager Station also will be set up in the barn to tackle questions from the public.
Since its establishment in 2007, the mission of the Andover Farmers Market has been to promote healthy eating, sustainability and local economies while fostering community involvement and highlighting Andover’s farming tradition.
The market is sponsored by the Andover branch of Whole Foods Market and The Savings Bank.