Business group takes over downtown farmers' market

It may be dead of winter, but the Downtown Milford Farmers' Market and the Downtown Milford Business Association are already at work putting plans together for a big summer season. This year, the Farmers' Market will be run by the DMBA.

The Downtown Milford Farmers' Market was started in 2005 and run by Sabrina Santoro of Sunflower Farms in Orange until 2012, when Alex Malaspinas took over the role of market master. Since its inception, the market has grown steadily year after year. Malaspinas attributes that to marketing not only the local foods and products for sale but the personalities and livelihoods of the vendors themselves.

“I wanted to connect people to people, and showcase the hardworking farmers and artisans behind it all,” Malaspinas said.

Malaspinas’ efforts have paid off tremendously: on any given Saturday during the season, there are retirees reuniting, kids having play dates, families spending time together, friends gathering, dogs playing, and people dancing to live music.

“In addition to our marketing efforts, word of mouth has made the market a hangout for all demographics in Milford,” Malaspinas said. “It’s become a place for the community together, and I’m proud of that.”

It’s that community vibe that makes the farmer’s market ripe for pairing with the Downtown Milford Business Association, DMBA members said, pointing out that the group’s mission is to bring attention to the downtown business district. The DMBA already organizes six big events throughout the year, including Pirate’s Weekend, the Wine Trail, HalloWeekend, and the Lamplight Stroll.

During the transition period, Malaspinas plans to stay on as an advisor to the DMBA.

“We’re grateful for Alex’s guidance,” said Tracy Bonosconi, DMBA president. “By joining forces, we stand to make downtown an even more desirable destination and give our residents a way to connect with their community. As they say, a rising tide raises all boats.”

The farmer’s market runs on Saturdays from June 2 through October 13 and features a variety of fresh, local produce, baked goods, honey, flowers, eggs, as well as live music and events for kids and adults alike. The market is located at 58 River Street in downtown Milford, directly adjacent to the Metro North train stop.