Farmer's Market readies for May opening
The ground is thawing and the farmers marketers are eager to get growing.
This year is our sixth season, and a group of growers worked over the winter to get organized and to expand offerings at the farmers market in Marlinton.
As a symbol of this expanded vision, the market changed its name to the Pocahontas County Farmers Market. Folks come from throughout the county to sell their wares and it seems the right time to make it a county market.
The first Market day begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 7, in Marlinton next to the mini-park on First Avenue.
Last year was the biggest ever with two dozen stands carrying a range of local goods from hand-made belts to fresh-baked cinnamon buns, herbal tea, flour and flowers. Not to forget, of course, the area's freshest, best-tasting vegetables.
With VISTA volunteer Amelia Swenson's help, we accepted SNAP cards last year. This year the machine will be set up on the edge of Crystal Dean's yard across from the market. Crystal graciously provides the necessary phone line and electricity for the machine. The senior and WIC voucher programs continue to grow and we are thankful for their support.
The manager of the Highland County Farmer's Market in Monterey, Virginia, Scott Smith, won a USDA grant this year to help the farmers markets in the area. Over two years it will provide us with some support to reach more producers, learn about other successful markets and expand what we offer our customers.
The grant helped Pocahontas County to be well represented at the state Small Farm Conference last month in Morgantown by several county officials as well as county farmers and gardeners. As an example of the scope of county farmers market reach, local marketers Cynthia Gurerri marketed her botanicals and Dawn Baldwin Barrett, of Brightside Acres, her teas and beauty products at the Winter Indoor Market held during the conference.
A core of farmers marketers believes that it is important to grow and sell food here. When we hand over the beets or corn or cucumbers to you at the market you know who grew it and where and how it was grown. When you hand us your dollars, something important happens: the money stays in the county. It is used to buy hardware at Richardson's, Glades or Trent's or be paid to a local plumber, electrician or welder who provides us needed expertise. Or, on cold mornings, to get a jumbo cup of hot coffee from the Dirt Bean. Every dollar spent at the farmers market strengthens us all.
To grow our market with more sellers, more products, more events and of course more shoppers we need more support. That takes effort and money. At our pre-season meeting Friday, April 15, 5 p.m. at the McClintic Library in Marlinton, we will collect membership dues. Only market members who have paid annual dues or vendors who are paying daily dues will be able to sell at the market.
Everyone who wants the farmers market to thrive is invited to attend the April 15 meeting where we will review market rules and discuss food-handling requirements. Sellers especially, are urged to attend this meeting. It will set standards for the summer's activities. If you are planning a big garden, think about earning a few extra dollars and sharing a congenial Saturday morning selling your produce.
Our goal is a farmers market that is more than a collection of vendors. We want the Saturday markets to be events. We want neighbors, friends and visitors to come and enjoy the morning with us. Our core of market sellers is mighty, but small. And there is too much to be done. We need volunteers to organize weekly events and to help with our information table on Saturdays. We especially need someone with bookkeeping or accounting skills to help us set up our books. Please help make Pocahontas County Farmers Market a terrific place for the community to gather on Saturday mornings this summer. For more information, call
Doug Bernier 304 799-6083
Larry Lucas 304 799-6416
Marcia Laska 304 456-5200
Tolly Peuleche 304 339-6524