Celebrating Local Food & Farms at Summervale

Here at City Market, we work closely with the Intervale Center as one of our Community Outreach Partners. Each summer, we sponsor their weekly celebration of food, farms, and community: Summervale. Every Thursday in July and August, City Market sets up shop with a “Make it from Scratch” activity, often highlighting local ingredients like basil from Digger's Mirth or yogurt from Butterworks Farm & Rogers Farmstead. To learn more about this weekly event and how it has evolved, I spoke with Abby Portman, Community Relations Coordinator for the Intervale Center.

Q: What is Summervale and how did it come about?

Summervale is a weekly celebration of food and music put on by the Intervale Center. It began when employees from the Intervale Center, Gardener’s Supply Company, and American Flatbread decided to come together each week to celebrate each other and the Intervale farmers. What started as a small gathering of 50 people with flatbread and beer has grown over the past 14 years into a beloved community event. Today, we have a dozen local food vendors, kids’ activities, talented musicians, and over 1,000 happy attendees each week.

Q: What can people expect as first time Summervale patrons?

First time Summervalers should expect to be surprised. Not many people realize that there are 350 acres of conserved farmland within the city. Even though the Intervale is just a quick bike ride from downtown, it is like entering a whole different world. Summervale is a celebration of this world, and our incredible community that helped create it. It is a weekly reminder of everything we love about Vermont.

Q: What suggestions do you have for making the most out of your first Summervale?

The dream Summervale evening would include a goat cheese appetizer from City Market’s “Make it from Scratch” tent, a Zero Gravity beer, dinner from Pingala’s Broccoli Bar, a popsicle for dessert from Adam’s Berry Farm, and music by Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band.

Q: Have you noticed more Burlington residents visiting the Intervale since the inception of events like Summervale and Wintervale?

Yes definitely! Summervale and Wintervale show our community members the incredible resource that is the Intervale. At Summervale, attendees experience the agricultural component of the Intervale. There are 10 independent farms in the Intervale. Many of the Summervale vendors source ingredients from these incredible farms, and attendees enjoy their delicious foods while relaxing at our historic farmstead. At Wintervale, attendees see a whole different side of the Intervale. Wintervale focuses on recreation. In the winter, we have 5 miles of groomed cross country ski trails. Wintervale allows community members the opportunity to explore our trails on skis, snowshoes, and even fat bikes (which are available for free thanks to Ski Rack, Burlington Parks and Rec., and Winooski Valley Park District).

Q: What are you most looking forward to from this year’s Summervale line up?

Steady Betty on August 24th , and the heirloom tomato tasting from Slow Food Vermont on August 17th!

Q: How does Summervale support the work of the Intervale?

Summervale is more than just a weekly party. It brings our community together around things that matter. Vendors donate a percentage of proceeds to support the work of the Intervale Center, and attendees can donate to the Intervale Center at each of the admission booths. The Intervale Center is a 501(c) (3) non-profit with a mission to strengthen community food systems. At the Intervale Center, we believe in the power of good food. We strive to create a food system that supports joyful, vibrant communities. We do this by enhancing the viability of farming, promoting the sustainable use and stewardship of agricultural lands, and ensuring community engagement in the food system.

To learn more about the Intervale center, check out their programs here.

Check out the full Summervale line up here.

To take a look at City Market’s “Make it from Scratch” schedule click here.

Interested in getting involved and volunteering at Summervale? Contact Carolyn.

Join us this Thursday, July 27th for “Make it from Scratch” corn tortillas 5:30-8pm. See you there!