Main Street Portsmouth (MSP) has a new farmers market assistant manager who shows that you are never too young to get excited about local produce.
Myles Deatley, who is six and a half (the half being very important) has grown up around the market, spending five years of his life getting to know the vendors and the products. He could not have been more excited when he was asked to step up into his new role.
MSP Executive Director Joseph Pratt explained that each year, MSP hires someone to focus solely on managing the market. In years past, the MSP director has taken on the role, which includes a small stipend. Last year, Pratt changed things up a bit by hiring a college student to perform the duties; however, once she moved away, MSP was left with a vacant position.
Heather DeAtley, mother to Myles and MSP board member, explained that one evening she was talking to her mother-in-law, who is also a MSP board member and part of the committee that oversees the Farmers Market, about how they could go about hiring a new market manager.
“Myles looked at us both and said, ‘How old do you have to be to be the market manager?” Heather explained. “We said, ‘Well, we usually have an adult that manages the market.’ So, we never really thought that much about it.”
Then, during a meeting, her mother-in-law mentioned Myles’ question as a joke. Pratt, however, thought it was a great idea. He immediately texted Heather to see if Myles would be interested in being a junior or assistant manager. He offered to manage the market himself and pay Myles $5 a week to be his assistant.
“I mentioned it to Myles, and he got a big grin on his face and said, ‘Yeah, I want to do that,’” the proud mom stated. “He’s been so excited.”
Though Myles is young, he’s not under qualified. In addition to being the son and grandson of longtime MSP board member, the market has been a big part of his life. Not only board members, Heather and her mother-in-law are also vendors. And, Myles has always been a big help.
“We got involved as vendors to help the market grow,” Heather stated. “In the early stages, there were only three or four vendors. When you get involved with the market, you fall in love with it, the other vendors, the atmosphere and being able to get fresh goods from local vendors.”
As a result, Heather has remained a vendor since Myles was just a toddler. Even before that, she was coming to the market to shop.
“Myles has been coming since he was a baby,” she confirmed. “He’s been here every Saturday in the summer for five years of his life.”
That is exactly why Pratt was excited to hire him for the role.
“What I like about it is he’s grown up here at the market,” Pratt commented. “He’s always here helping his sisters with lemonade stands or helping his mom sell her fresh breads and doughs, so he’s excited to step up at the new market manager.”
Heather explained that the market has really impacted the person her son is. Though she sells breads, she explained that every Saturday she goes home with bread from another vendor because that is what Myles prefers. She added that she always lets her children pick foods to take home from the market and has seen that they connect the food with the farmer.
“When we sit down and food from the market is on their plate, they think about the person who made that, so they are connecting that someone grew this or made it, and we are enjoying it,” Heather said.
On his first day as assistant market manager, which was also opening day of the market, Myles wrote prizes on the prize wheel and helped kids find their prizes. He was happy to say that he likes his job, thinks it is a lot of fun and loves the market.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.