By RACHEL C. DOVE
WILLIAMSON - The opening of the Williamson Farmers’ Market couldn’t have been planned for a more perfect time, as Tug Valley residents gear up to enjoy the first holiday weekend of the season.
Saturday, May 26 at 8 a.m., local farmers will gather to peddle their goods at the Freight Depot at 100 East Third Ave., in front of the former location of the Daily News. A large variety of fruits and vegetables will be available including onions, lettuce, peas, green beans, new potatoes, cabbage and much more.
If you are interested in purchasing fruit trees or berry plants, you may pre-order those by calling Dorothy Stewart (Wayne County Farmer’s Market) at 304-272-6422. Types of trees and plants now available include apple, peach, cherry, pear and plum trees along with strawberry, red raspberry and thornless blackberry plants. The trees may be purchased for the price of $20 and plants average in the $5 range.
If you are considering joining the local farmer’s that sell at the market, you are encouraged to contact Mingo County WVU Extension Professor Bill Richardson by calling 304-235-0370. All gardeners and growers are welcome and the cost to set up a table will be $5 per week.
The four trial markets that were held last summer were deemed a huge success. This year the popularity of the market has increased dramatically through word of mouth and the use of the Williamson Farmers’ Market Facebook page that now has close to 200 followers.
The farmers’ market is a joint project of the Williamson Redevelopment Authority in collaboration with local food producers, the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce, the JOBS Project, WVU Extension, Wayne County Farmers’ Market and the WV Food and Farm Coalition. The goal for the market is to bring fresh, locally grown food to nearby residents where they might not otherwise have access, and to provide a place for local farmers to sell their produce.
“The Farmers’ Market last summer was a blow out success and we expect this year to be even better,” said Richardson.
“I am thrilled that this venture has come to the point where it will now be held once a week,” remarked Helen Stanley, who is the Williamson Farmers’ Market Manager. “I’m looking forward to seeing how the market will grow this year, and for years to come.”
On Aug. 20, 2011, the date for one of the trial market days held last year, over 500 residents visited the location and spent over $3,000 on produce.
Williamson Mayor Darrin McCormick was quoted in a Daily News article in 2011 written about the market as saying it was a “true success”, and also said he was “excited about the growth and looked forward to future market days.”
Beginning with the 26th, the market will open each Saturday at 8 a.m. and will remain open until 4 p.m.
Ideas have been passed around to possible add a weekday for the market to be open, and the director said that may be a consideration if they see the supply of produce that is available would be enough to accommodate more than one day, and if it’s something that the public voices they would like to see happen.
For more information on the market, you may contact Richardson at the number listed above or you may call Allison Carey, Sustainability Coordinator for the Williamson Redevelopment Authority, at 304- 235-1510.