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One of the great pleasures of being in Vermont is visiting our local farmers markets. Our relatively small state has nearly 100 markets, each offering organic produce, quality foods and handmade crafts. We recently had the joy of visiting six markets and want to share our experience with you.

BRATTLEBOROThe farmers market in Brattleboro is worth the ride from just about anywhere. With 40 or so vendors and expertly managed by Meghan Houlihan, this market rests softly in a beautiful woodsy setting. Each booth, lushly loaded with product, was irresistible, especially True North Granola, which offers 15 unique products including five varieties of gluten-free granola and three varieties of low-carb and low- to no-sugar choices.

Also fun to peruse was Orchard Hill Breadworks out of East Alstead, New Hampshire. The wood-fired breads and pastries included Russian rye and honey multigrain and delicious oatmeal raisin and double dark chocolate cookies. From Guilford, Slate Hollow Farm offers a maple mustard vinaigrette consisting of only a few ingredients, all made at the farm. As we were making our way out of this culinary bazaar with more than enough purchases, we came upon Parish Hill Cheeses. From Westminster, Vermont, Parish Hill offers heavenly raw milk goat cheeses. We especially liked the Humble and Hermit varieties.

This producer-only market is a delight. It’s calm. It’s peaceful. Note that for safety reasons dogs are not allowed. As with many markets these days, there are “tokens” available for you to pay vendors who do not accept credit cards. This helpful exchange, paid for by your charge card at the manager’s booth, is known as “wood for plastic.” Or, you can pay in cash. The Brattleboro farmers market on Route 9 is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., May 1 through Oct. 30. More information is available at farmersmarket05301@gmail.com.

DORSETAnother must-stop is the Dorset farmers market, open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. During the summer months, this market is on the grounds of the H.N. Williams Store on Route 30 in Dorset. Parking is across the road in an open field. For the winter months, the market is housed in JK Adams Kitchen Store, also on Route 30. For hours, directions and information, very able market manager Helen Wood can be reached at marketmanager@dorsetfarmersmarket.com. Now, almost 20 years since it began, the Dorset market continues to grow, attracting more vendors and visitors every year.

With nearly 45 vendors, this producer-only market offers an abundant display of organic produce, free-range eggs, grass-fed beef and poultry, finely crafted cheeses, home-baked breads and colorful flowers from Shaftsbury’s True Love Farm (Myra’s favorite for lisianthus), all amid aromatic coffee from Tall Cat of Dorset, as well as handmade clothing, jewelry and even dog treats.

With too many standouts to mention, a few deserving of special attention include certified organic vegetables from Mighty Food Farm (Shaftsbury), artisan cheeses from Consider Bardwell (West Pawlet) and Woodcock Farm (Weston), premium preserves from Pitchfork (Pawlet), veggies, fruit and apple cider from Yoder Farm (Danby) and longtime vendor Diane Heleba’s stand of 30 different types of potatoes from Center Rutland. Also, check out Appalachian Gap Distillery from Middlebury offering a new botanical gin called Mythic with notes of pine, cinnamon and citrus.

Live, local music is provided up on a nearby hill so as to be heard in the market, but without being intrusive. Dogs are permitted on a leash. A unique aspect of the Dorset farmers market is the number of purveyors offering ready to eat delights such as grilled meat skewers, eggplant parmesan, tacos, Korean food, hot pretzels and fresh lemonade — to name just a few. Dorset farmers market has become a great place for Sunday lunch.

While we do not have the space to detail the pleasant and congenial time enjoyed at every market we visited, they all deserve a shoutout. The other farmers markets we visited were:

Arlington:

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  • More than 30 vendors congregate every Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. on Rec Park Road in Arlington.

Londonderry:

  • The West River market, with its nearly 40 vendors, is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Memorial Day to Columbus Day.

Manchester:

  • This farmers market is open Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m. May 27 through Oct. 7, with 30 vendors at Adams Park.

Bennington:

  • This farmers market has 22 vendors and easy parking every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Our farmers markets are precious and serve as a reminder of why we love living in Vermont. We found each market to have a knowledgeable and amiable manager on site. Almost every farmers market has its own website with more information including winter hours, location and directions. Enjoy.

Our next column will be a review of Silver Fork in Manchester, just named by TripAdvisor as the number one date night restaurant in the U.S.

David Meiselman and Myra Packman are food columnists and restaurant reviewers for the Brattleboro Reformer, Bennington Banner and Manchester Journal. They can be reached at davidandmyravt@gmail.com.