WILLIAMSON – The Williamson Farmers Market has announced that it is officially planning to open on Saturday May 7th this year— just over four weeks away. The farmers market, which is entering its fifth season, is gearing up for an exciting year and Market Manager Paula Reed said that they are planning for the market to grow in more ways than one in 2016.
“We have been looking at different activities to include at the market this year,” said Reed. “Last year we hosted activities such as cooking demonstrations, a belly dancing presentation and SNAP tours.”
This year, they plan to do even more.
“For example, in addition to our regularly scheduled events, we are hoping to have a small ‘petting zoo day’, host more musicians, cooking demonstrations, and we are also inviting different organizations such as the Garden Club, Master Gardeners and the Tug Valley Agriculture program to come and do special programs at the market.”
In addition to hosting a number of new events at this market this year, there are plans to expand their reach within the community. Maria Arnot, the Director of Community Agriculture for the Williamson Health and Wellness Center, explained two programs that will take place in 2016 that will continue to grow the market.
Arnot said they will continue running the Mobile Market, which launched in 2104. The Mobile Market will again be travels to different parts of the county including Matewan, Dingess, Delbarton, Gilbert, Lenore and Kermit. The schedule will be released within the next two weeks.
“Additionally, we will be starting a small Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) pilot program this summer called Farm Fresh 2U.”
For the CSA, there will be a certain number of “Farm Fresh 2U boxes” available for sale to the public. Interested customers will purchase a box upfront (also known as a “share” or a “subscription”) and in return will receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
Paula Reed said that because of this expansion, the demand for fresh produce is higher than ever, and that they are looking for new people to sell produce to the market this year.
“In order to serve people throughout the county, and to reach new audiences this year, we really need to increase the amount of locally grown food coming to the market,” said Reed.
“These people that have trouble getting rid of their produce have an excellent market right here. There is a lot of room for growers to make extra income. The farmers market is growing tremendously, people want fresh produce,” said local farmer Doug Dudley.
And now, with the addition of the Mobile Market and CSA, she says selling produce is easier than ever.
“Even if you have a small garden, and have just a little excess produce that you are needing to get rid of, we will buy it from you to resell through the Mobile Market or CSA. This is a great chance for people who grow their own food to make some extra money. I know many people give away their food, so we are offering them a chance to make a little money off of it.”
If you are interested in learning about how to sell your product to the Farmers Market, Mobile Market or CSA there will be having an informational meeting next Tuesday, April 7th at 6pm. The meeting will take place at 182 East 2nd Avenue in Williamson, W. Va., Right next to the Righteous Brew.
“We invite anyone to come to this informational meeting!”
For more information, contact Maria Arnot at 304-235-3400 or Paula Reed at 606-939-2443. You can also e-mail Maria at [email protected] For more information on upcoming events and program, following the Farmers Market on Facebook at www.facebook.com/williamsonfarmersmarket.