WALLINGFORD — The local farmers market is set to open for the season Saturday, with a new supervisor bringing his experience running Durham’s market.
The Wallingford Garden Market is scheduled to run 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays from June 26 to Sept. 4 at Doolittle Park.
Jon Scagnelli, the new market supervisor, lives in Durham but grew up in Wallingford and graduated from Lyman Hall High School.
In addition to being Durham’s market master, he’s chairman of the town Recreation Committee and coordinates craft vendors for the Durham Fair.
Scagnelli said Tuesday that it was vendors in Durham who approached him about becoming Wallingford’s market master, which wouldn’t have happened this year otherwise, he said.
“I figured, this is my hometown,” he said.
The town Parks and Recreation department took over the market in 2017 from Wallingford Center Inc. and moved it from the train station green to Doolittle Park.
The former market managers, Jessica and Adam Mantzaris, ran it until last year, when COVID-19 hit. The market operated in a truncated form, without crafts, candles, live music or demonstrations.
Michelle Bjorkman, the Parks department’s superintendent of recreation, said that the Mantzarises have since retired and moved out of town.
The market supervisor is a paid position. Scagnelli is responsible for soliciting and scheduling vendors, designing the market layout and attending each Saturday.
Scagnelli kept the Durham Farmers’ Market going all winter, moving operations indoors to the Durham Activity Center.
Scagnelli contacted Bjorkman about running Wallingford’s market and began working on a plan in mid-March.
“It was kind of late in the season,” he said. “I had a scramble to get all these vendors, because most vendors, by the time we coordinated, already have markets picked out. For Durham, I started looking for vendors in December.”
Despite the time crunch, Scagnelli rounded up about 30 food and craft vendors, local eateries and community groups to participate, including David and Donna Terrell of Meadow Walk Farm in Cheshire and Nick Imbriglio of Passionately Pasta in Wallingford.
All three vendors said it was Scagnelli that made them want to participate in the Wallingford Garden Market this year.
Donna Terrell makes non-traditional jams by incorporating other foods like tomato, onion and cloves. David Terrell can trace his family’s history on their 22-acre property back to 1747, nearly 275 years.
Donna Terrell said Scagnelli is “the whole reason we’re coming, because we do three other markets,” including Durham.
“We used to do the Wallingford market when it was down in the center of town,” she said. “Jon is very organized. He has a keen eye for detail.”
Imbriglio, a Wallingford native and artesian pasta maker, begins his process from scratch, milling the flour himself and sourcing local ingredients. He said he’s known Scagnelli for two years.
“Jon has been a phenomenal market master,” Imbriglio said. “He’s very much committed to local, which I think is important, and that was one of their big reasons why I wanted to come back into the market scene with him, because I know that if he does the Wallingford market, he’s going to do it the best he can.”
Scagnelli said he has a love for farming, with a vegetable garden and egg-laying chickens at home.
“I live in a farm town,” he said, “and Wallingford — I grew up where my family always had a garden. My grandparents had a garden. So I was around a lot.”
With COVID-19 cases declining and more people venturing out, Scagnelli hopes to line up live music and demonstrations
“If I want to come down on a Saturday morning,” Imbriglio said, “you get to see people that you keep in touch with all the time, it’s a wonderful feeling to see that your town supports you and supports others, so I try to keep that in mind.”
Find the Wallingford Garden Market on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wallingfordgardenmarket. Contact Scagnelli email@example.com or the Parks department at firstname.lastname@example.org.