Story and photos by Alice Gerard
Christmas at the Thompson Farm, 2487 Long Road, featured local venders with handmade products for sale, in addition to foods, such as eggs, meat, potatoes, honey, maple syrup, garlic and winter squashes. Handmade products include soaps, baked goods, ornaments and small paintings.
Denise Ricotta, one of the venders, said the soaps, scrubs and other products she made are “good teacher gifts, stocking stuffers and hostess favors.”
Ricotta also brought 34-dozen Italian pizzelles, which she offered for sale.
“Pizzelles are my favorite to bake,” she said. “They remind me of my mom. She did the same thing every Christmas. Home was like a pizza factory, and I’m carrying on the tradition.”
Ricotta explained that, on the day she begins making her pizzelles, she can smell them when the door is opened “and even on the porch.”
A variety of Italian cookies tempt the taste buds.
Wendy Thompson also had Italian cookies for sale. She said she makes her favorites – cuccidatis – first. “They are labor-intensive, but I don’t mind the work involved.”
For Wendy, the year is cyclical: “It’s always busy and hectic during the season, when everything is blooming and growing. Because it’s Christmas, we do a little extra with the gifty things.”
For Tom Thompson, the joy of the Christmas farmers market is “just seeing everybody come in.” He said the farm is open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. “We try to keep up with supplying everyone with eggs.
“This time of year is just fun.”
For Peggy Bauman, another vender at the market, the things that makes her happiest about participating in the farmers market are “the things that are natural and are made by people and not manufactured.” She said her favorite thing to do is to “bake Christmas cookies with my 7-year-old granddaughter.”
Tom Thompson said planting for the spring will begin in March in the greenhouses.
“We are hoping for a good growing season,” he said.
The Thompson Farm also collects nonperishable foods for the Grand Island Neighbors Foundation.
“Anyone who wants to give to the Neighbors Foundation can come here,” Thompson said. “We have a box where we collect food stuffs. No expired goods, please.”
Another thing that can be dropped off at the farm is empty egg cartons. A bin is available near the door of the small barn, Thompson said.
Both Wendy and Tom Thompson said they hope everyone is happy at this time of year.
“Merry Christmas,” Tom said.
“Blessings to everyone,” Wendy said. “We’re blessed with loyal customers and hope that everyone can carry on.”