It was a bittersweet goodbye scene as the last customers at the Andover Farmers Market watched their peppers being packed and fresh flowers wrapped last Saturday.
Next year, the popular market will move from its 13-year location at 97 Main St. to South Church at 41 Central St. The market has outgrown its space on Main Street on the grounds of the Andover Center for History and Culture, organizers say.
"Our property is simply too small to continue adding vendors and we have creatively utilized as much of our space, including the Blanchard Barn, as we can," said Lauren Kosky-Stamm, market coordinator.
"We have been working throughout the current season with Fran Healy and the South Church community to effectively transition the market to them," she continued. "We look forward to seeing what South Church will do with the market. They have a wonderful group of volunteers, a large and accessible property to host the market and great ideas for the market's future."
She said this year there was still enough space to add five new vendors: Hannah's Herbals, Pedalin' Fools Bike Repair, Emily Trespas Studio, Goodie Krunch, and Dargoonian Farms.
They joined vendors who have been with the market since its beginning in 2007: Swissbakers, Gaouette Farm, and Tselio's Flowers. Plus, four community partner organizations — Andover Arts and Culture Alliance, AVIS, Andover Cultural Council, and Memorial Hall Library — had spaces.
"We feel the market is always successful if our local farmers have a place to engage with and sell their fruit, vegetables, flowers, honey and maple syrup," Kosky-Stamm said.
"The Andover Farmers Market has many loyal shoppers and vendors, as well as community members who rely on the market for their weekly fresh, local produce," she added.
As South Church takes over the market, Kosky-Stamm said she believes the tradition will continue to thrive in Andover.
When the market started, farmers markets were still rare in the Merrimack Valley and a local history organization hosting and managing a market on its property was unheard of, she said.
"As the local food movement has expanded and the amount of markets in the area has increased, shoppers have a variety of markets to shop at throughout the week. We think the Andover community is still very interested in and committed to having a farmers' market in town," Kosky-Stamm said.