Coventry Farmers Market Agreement Settled

Connecticut Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky announced to-day that the Coventry Regional Farmers Market, Connecticut Landmarks (which oversees the Nathan Hale Homestead), and the Town of Coventry have worked out a new, ten-year arrangement that will bring the farmers’ market back to the Hale Homestead for the summer season.

“This is excellent news for the residents of Coventry and the farmers market,” said state Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky. “I commend the Town of Coventry and the farmer’s market for their work to ensure this great Connecticut tradition was not lost, and I thank Governor Malloy for getting the parties talking again. Connecticut has a rich agricultural history, one that we want to en-courage and expand.”

Negotiations to renew the lease between the Hale Homestead and the farmer’s market stumbled last fall over mutual concerns about expense and liability issues. During winter discussions, the parties reached an agreement to establish the Town of Coventry as the tenant with the farmer’s market sub-leasing the property. This assuaged the liability concerns and reduced insurance expenses, allowing the savings to be applied to the rental fees. The agreement also outlines that the town will coordinate the use and maintenance of the new barn which will provide shared income with a reserve held for barn maintenance.

Of the state’s 125 farmers’ markets, the Coventry Regional Farmers’ Market, now in its eighth year of operation, is one of the largest and most heavily attended. In 2011, it accounted for $500,000 in sales and was visited by over 75,000 people.

The Nathan Hale Homestead was the family home of State Hero Nathan Hale. Richard Hale, Na-than’s father, was a prosperous livestock farmer. The house on the homestead, built in 1776, was deeded to Connecticut Landmarks in the 1940s. Much of the acreage associated with the Hale farm is now the Nathan Hale State Forest.

“It took considerable time, effort, and energy from everyone involved to reach this new agreement, but it was worth it,” Commissioner Reviczky said. “This is a marriage of one of the state’s most popular farmers’ markets and one of Connecticut’s historical treasures. The complete package is much greater than the sum of its parts.”

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