From The Ground Up
In 2005, a seed was planted.
Susan Shaw, Susan Shacklesford, Lisa Blanchard, and Ann Maher came together with a concept to start a farmers’ market in Downtown Milford. As members of the DMBA, the idea came organically. And it was no surprise, as these four women were behind some of the DMBA’s most popular and enduring events, like Pirate’s Day and the Lamplight Stroll. The four brought in Kathy Donovan to start researching the best ways to get a market off the ground. After much discussion, they decided to proceed with the support of the Connecticut State Department of Agriculture and recruited veteran farmer Sabrina Santoro of Sunflower Farms to act as Market Master.
All along, Joe and Lou Agro, long-time Milford business owners and members of the DMBA, supported the idea and offered their property at 54 River Street free of charge. Thanks to their kindness, the market had access to a parking lot, outdoor electricity, and restrooms every Saturday from June through October every year. Their property became a weekend destination for many locals and out-of-towners who were looking for fresh, wholesome foods, and fun entertainment on Saturday mornings.
All the founders of the market believed in civic responsibility. To help give back, Kathy Donovan conceived the idea of setting aside one spot a week for a different non-profit to set up and make their presence known in the community. Over the years, the market has given countless non-profits a venue for free.
After several years of successfully managing the market, Sabrina passed the torch to Alex Malaspinas, who took over as the market master in 2012. Alex kept the spirit of the market alive and took it even further, by marketing not just the local foods and products, but the personalities and livelihoods of the vendors themselves. And the efforts of all involved paid off tremendously -- on any given Saturday during the season, you’ll find retirees reuniting, kids having play dates, families spending time together, friends gathering, and people dancing.
The DMBA took the helm in 2018 and looks forward to seeing the market continue to thrive. Since inception, the Downtown Milford Farmers’ Market has accepted food stamps and senior vouchers, making the market accessible to all members of our community. We only sell CT produce and goods, helping to foster our states small businesses and agriculture economy. It is our mission to support the vision of our founders and continue to make the market a place for the community to come together.