WV Farm Bureau Magazine July 2014 - Page 20

A Fresh Take on Grocery Shopping Tabitha Bennett It’s that time of year again! Farmers markets all across West Virginia are up and running with fresh produce, baked goods, and hand-crafted items. If you are tired of making trips to the grocery store for foods that don’t seem that fresh, try visiting a local farmers market. You will get guaranteed fresh food, and you can help a local farmer. Recently we visited the Morgantown and Clarksburg Farmers Markets. We found a great variety of vegetables, berries, baked goods, and handmade crafts. The Morgantown Farmers Market was full of both venders and buyers on Saturday morning, and people of all ages were enjoying the sales. Every customer had a smile. The farmers seemed to appreciate the patrons as well. “This is the best market I’ve been to,” said Jeff Sickler, a local farmer, “They have a volume of people here and we are able to charge fair prices for everyone.” Farmers seemed to have great relationships with their customers and each other. “You have to enjoy interacting,” said a Morgantown farmer, “we build relationships with people who come every week, and all of the venders help one another.” At the Clarksburg farmers market, many of the same items were sold. Produce, tapestries, photos, and even dog treats. One vendor said she made gourmet dog treats to sell to pay for her own dog’s vet bills. 20 West Virginia Farm Bureau News We also met Marilyn Blake at the Clarksburg farmers market, who shared the farmers’ struggle of securing a place to sell their goods. She explained that the farmers were moved to several different locations, including parking lots and a parking garage, until they locked in their current location at the Christ Episcopal Church parking lot. In the summer they set up in the parking lot, and during the winter months they sell in a building on the property. Blake explained that after the Clarksburg Farmers Market’s sixth summer, they finally have a place to sell yearround. With their new permanent location, the Clarksburg farmers are prospering, and doing their best not to waste anything. “We were losing sales before,” said Blake, “you can’t stop produce from growing, and one of the most important aspects of farming is adding value to the things you grow.” Blake mentioned that the Clarksburg Farmers Market likes to feature musicians, artists, and local crafters as well as new vendors. “We are looking for more all the time,” Blake says. If you are looking to get into the farmers market business, or just need a break from the shopping cart pushing and self-checkouts of the grocery store, check out a farmers market near you. Meet new friends, purchase quality goods, and support the people who work hard to feed us all.