Meet Me in Medford | Jane Hamel, Medford Farmers' Market Manager
by 4Squares Residential Group in Partnership with Judi 411
When it comes to community gathering spots, the Medford Farmers Market is the place to see and be seen. We spent time with Medford resident and Market Manager Jane Hamel, who gave us the inside scoop on what we can look forward to this summer as well as some of her favorite outdoor venues across the city.
What drew you to Medford and your neighborhood in particular?
I grew up in Europe, in the Netherlands, and my family moved to New Jersey when I was a teen. I moved to Boston as a young adult for my career and met my husband here. When it came time to look for a home, we wanted to be close to Downtown Boston and found Medford to be the perfect spot for our commute, and housing prices were more manageable for us than in other cities. That was 15 years ago, and we've loved living here ever since.
What do you enjoy about your Medford neighborhood? Why do you continue to choose Medford as your home?
Our neighborhood is great. We live in the Glenwood neighborhood, not far from Haines Square, off Salem Street. We're on a short street, with about ten houses, and every neighbor here is terrific. I like most that the streets in our immediate neighborhood are diverse. We live next door to people who work in various professions, come from different backgrounds, and speak multiple languages. We homeschooled for a while, but I appreciated that their peers were diverse when my kids attended Medford Public Schools. I also love that we have a good amount of public transportation and can hop a bus to the train, which allows us to be a one-car family.
And of course, we have a lot of green space around us. When the kids were smaller, we had a choice of four different playgrounds, all within walking distance, and we could decide "which one shall we go to today?"
About eight years ago, we considered moving for cheaper living, but in the end, we couldn't leave the community our kids, and we have grown to love so much.
Speaking of community, let's talk about your role as Market Manager for the Medford Farmers Market. What can we look forward to this season regarding vendors and performers, and maybe some different things that we haven't seen before?
While I am the Market Manager, there is also a Medford Farmers Market Board that has been hard at work behind the scenes to make the market better than ever. We open June 9th, and while we're not quite ready to share our vendors yet, I can tell you that we have a big farm joining us this year, so we'll have more produce than in years past. We're keeping our fingers crossed for a good growing season. Last year was rough. It was cold and wet and then really hot, which meant that farmers had less produce to sell.
In addition to fruits and vegetables, we'll have dessert and coffee vendors and flowers, herbs, jewelry, candles, and other gifts available for sale. And bonus: we'll also have mead and cider vendors this year, which is super exciting!
In terms of entertainment, there are plans for a series of city-hosted concerts at the Condon Shell, and it's also possible that the Medford and Winter Hill Brewing Companies will be back with a pop-up beer gardens like last season. "
For folks newer to Medford, the Farmers Market is a great place to meet neighbors, and we are always looking for volunteers. It's a great way to support local businesses and become part of the greater Medford community.
What are some of your hidden gem spots around Medford that newcomers may also want to know about?
I have so many! The golden gem for me is the folks at Modern Hardware in Haines Square. When we first bought our house, George and Dave helped us by suggesting the tools we needed, right down to "These are the nails you want to use." They've also been an excellent resource for contractor referrals for some of our more extensive home repairs. We tell neighborhood newcomers to make sure they stop in at Modern over a big box store. Their personalized service is fantastic.
As far as parks go, I love walking over to Fellsmere Pond, which is technically in Malden, but part of the park is in Medford. It's beautiful year-round, but in winter, sledding on the hills is terrifyingly fun. There is talk of expanding it and many active citizens doing good things around that.
For young families, you can't beat the Medford Family Network. We are so fortunate to have an organization devoted to bringing families together through playgroups, parenting classes, and organized events like the Wright's Pond Summer Concert Series. I've been part of the Babysitter Exchange, and having that community of fellow parents trade off childcare was so helpful to our family.
And, of course, there is the new Medford Public Library, which is gorgeous and has so much to offer. The Library has been a place where we've always found community at all stages of our family's growth.
If your best friend were considering moving to Medford, what would you tell them?
Some of my best friends already live in Medford! But for those who don't, I would say come live here! While there's always room for improvement, no matter where you live, I think Medford offers so many great opportunities to get involved. We have Walk Medford and the Medford Bicycle Commission, and the activist works around creating an even more walkable city. People are so welcoming here, and we've made so many great connections in and around the community.
Get ready to kick-off summer with the Medford Farmers Market! Opening day is June 9th and there are plenty of volunteer opportunities available, for folks of all ages.
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