MANCHESTER, NH –We’re counting down to the launch of this year’s Manchester Community Market, which will kick off June 15 at 3 p.m. at Victory Park with farmers, vendors, music, a big cake and a ribbon cutting (around 4 p.m.). Also new this year, market manager Derek Lynch, who is working to bring back the best of what residents say they’re looking for at a downtown open-air market, and grow it into something unique to Manchester.
We thought we’d ask Derek to answer a few questions in advance of Thursday’s grand opening:
Q: First things first: Tell us a little more about yourself.
I’m 33, born and raised in Manchester, and a Central High grad. I studied business at Merrimack College, and am working toward a master’s in school psychology. I’m a self-taught artist (see more on that below) and enjoy painting and creating mosaics. I’m also interested in environmental sustainability and its recalibration. I play chess, am interested in talent development, I collect key chains of places and people I visit. My grandfather did that, and had a pretty remarkable collection.
I also am a fan of:
- Poetry Slams
- Open mics
- Timebanking and Food Co-ops
- Personal Interviewing
- Student/Personal Development and Mentoring
- Quantum Mechanics
Q: Your background is in the arts and food. Tell us more?
My background in the arts is very grassrootsie. In my adolescence, I would draw “nothing” for hours. However, I was so focused on athletics and school, I hardly dipped into other interests I had in music and art. It wasn’t until a great friend of mine pulled out some paint, brushes, and sponges one stormy night that I was reintroduced to expressing the visions throughout my imagination. I was never really taught or educated how to paint, however once I realized what I was creating was unique to me, I knowingly and purposely did not research other art styles, famous artists, famous works and so forth, fearing I would be influenced subconsciously. I’m not above learning from others, in fact it’s one of my favorite ways to learn; however I want to extract as much raw capability out of myself before I seek further guidance.
As for food, when I returned from New Zealand, I moved to Pepperell, Mass. There, I met the Mariano family and we became instant friends. The Mariano’s own Bailey’s Bar & Grille, Bailey’s on the Green, and Mariano’s in Pepperell and Townsend, Mass. I was planning on selling all of my possessions except for my car, my clothes, and my paintings and driving across the country to visit my friends and family in the flesh. I was intending on making it to California, however anywhere my intuition was to lead me was enough for me. The day after I sold just about everything, my car was in a mechanical-coma for five days. Within those five days, I was invited to hang my art up for the first time ever at The Big Bean in Newmarket. I had been brought on by my alma mater, Central High School, to be a volunteer assistant coach for the tight end position I used to play (and it was the only coaching role left), and Al Mariano asked me if I would help manage his restaurant at the golf course called Bailey’s on the Green. I can say the Mariano’s taught me a lot about the industry and business. I was mesmerized by the precision of timing and resourcefulness. I realized that the cooks of most kitchens are comparable to offensive and defensive lineman in football. They do WORK. They prep all the food, they cook all the food. They clean all the equipment, and they clean everything else in the back of the house too.
Recently I have been more attracted to the source of where the food I eat actually originates from, and the process it goes through from “farm to table.” I am continuously inquiring about comparisons between GMO, non-GMO, Organic, whole, etc. There is enough gray area and differing attitudes toward a unanimous agreement of where food is from, what label it should or shouldn’t have, and the proper way to market the food to consumers. It’s important to know which farms we are getting our food from. This summer’s market has incredible New Hampshire farmers participating. I’m excited to receive my CSA packaging each week with my favorite fruits and vegetables, as well as some I’ve never heard of or tried before. Sometimes I can feel like I’m always in a constant state of departure while always arriving, and I rarely have time to go into the grocery store It’s cost-effective and super convenient to pick up my fresh box of produce at the market each week.
Q: What should residents know about the new and improved Manchester Community Market?
Derek: We will have 8 to 10 farms offering delicious, fresh produce. We have a variety of artisans soaps, essential oils, honey, ice cream, pastries, bread, and much more. Our market will be a stop worthwhile before big weekend getaways up in the North Country, down along the Cape, at the beach, or the beautiful Monadnock region. Manchester is typically the connecting path between all of these great, local areas our market-goers rely on for their summer barbecue’s and vacations.
There will be face-painting and activities occurring throughout the summer season. In July, there will be demonstrations and exhibitions in Victory by the Seacoast Fencing Club, as well as free yoga, self-defense, and tai chi. There are more surprises in the mix for both children and adults as the season progresses.
Q: Are you still looking for vendors/artisans/farmers for the market? If so, who should apply and how?
We are always welcoming of new vendors who bring their own unique talents which complement our overall market attitude. What is most important to our team is that we have the most positive, grateful people serving those whom attend the market. So far so very good! We would love to invite interested people who are starting their own crafting journey and may want guidance to consider how to set themselves up as vendor at a market.
There is definitely a movement going on locally to which people are starting to invest their time in crocheting, cooking, woodworking, incense making and so forth. We encourage anyone to become a guest vendor of the Manchester Community Market who wants to try it out. This is a community market – and we want as many great members of the community to participate with us.
The best way to complete the application for the market is on our website: www.manchestercommunitymarket.org.