May 10, 2019 by Carol Britton Meyer
Hingham Farmers Market patrons appreciate the fresh produce, seasonal plants, flowers, bakery, cheese, poultry, beef, seafood, eggs, honey, artisan wares — and in recent years, wine — offered by some 40 vendors.
The sale of wine was okayed by town officials several years ago as a complement to the other products offered at the market, especially when putting together a meal. And it is difficult to decide which wine to buy without first tasting it.
This season Hingham Farmers Market patrons will not only be able to buy and sample beforehand the wine offered by Coastal Vineyards of South Dartmouth as was the case last year, but also wine produced by Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery.
The Selectmen approved Tuesday night both vendors’ requests for licenses to sell wine at the market this year. This is possible because their products are produced by farm wineries.
There’s a sample limit of not more than three ounces per patron, served one ounce at a time for the tastings and consumed in front of the server at the wine booth. The wine is sold in sealed containers for consumption outside of the market only.
Last year the Bathing Beach Trustees approved wine tastings following the earlier approval of wine sales, which paved the way for the market to approach the selectmen asking for their approval as well, and it was granted. The market operates from the Bathing Beach parking lot.
“Wine tastings take place at other markets, and this will be a very specialized, controlled activity,” Selectman Karen Johnson said at the time. Police Chief Glenn Olsson recently reported that there were no incidents last year related to the tastings, although he admits to being “leery” when the wine testings were first proposed.
“The tastings have made a significant difference in the number of wine sales,” said Hingham Farmers Market, Inc. President Mark Cullings, who attended the meeting.
The Trustees approved the request last year with the understanding that HFM organizers are required to coordinate monitoring of sampling activity with the assigned police detail officer at any market event with wine sales/sampling and must also ensure that the wine vendor has an Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission certificate of compliance. There are also insurance-related stipulations.
Cullings said he’s pleased the May 4 HFM opening day was successful even during the midst of “significant construction” related to the bathhouse/snack shop/community meeting room project currently underway at that location.
“We worked closely with the DPW and the Bathing Beach Trustees, with support from all the town departments, to get the market up and running on schedule,” he said.
The HFM operates every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Nov. 23.