POMEROY — The Meigs County Farmers’ Market ended their 2020 season last Saturday, having enjoyed continuous growth in vendors and attendance.
The Market was open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May through October, and reported 16 tons of produce sold and an average foot traffic of 600-700.
“People are purchasing healthy food at the Market, and the dollars are staying in our county,” said Market Director Stephanie Rife.
She credited the Market’s success with community support and likened the Market to a puzzle saying, “The Market is like a puzzle with multiple pieces. Without everyone doing their part, the pieces wouldn’t all fit together. You can’t have a beautiful puzzle with just one piece, you need all of the pieces to come together.”
She said there are so many examples of people volunteering their time, and said that all the people were amazing.
“It seemed like every time there was a need, someone stepped forward to fill it. We (the Market board) sometimes didn’t even need to ask, someone would hear about an upcoming project and they were there ready to help.”
Rife cited several examples, including volunteers for the Kid’s Corner, the support of the Pomeroy mayor and council members and local businesses, vendors educating and developing lasting relationships with their customers, cooking demonstrations, the newly formed Beardsman group, and she said the list goes on.
When speaking of volunteers, it should be noted that Market board members are not paid for their time and effort in developing and presenting the weekly event. They volunteer in what they feel is an important and worthwhile endeavor with far reaching benefits for Meigs County.
The community also responded with donations to raffles and 50/50 drawings for projects to benefit local non-profits, including the St. Jude Trail Ride sponsored by the Langsville Chapter of the Ohio Horseman’s Association, “Day of Hope” project, with the goal of building a shelter for abused women, sponsored by Bitanga’s Martial Arts Center in Middleport, and the Veteran’s Banner project, sponsored by the Appalachian Community Fund.
This year the Market was able to pay local musicians to perform, helping fill a financial need for many who were unemployed due to the pandemic. The Market also distributed food vouchers for Veterans, WIC, and Seniors.
The Young Entrepreneur program was deemed a success. The goal of the program is to encourage youth in the community to put forward their art and learn business skills in the process.
During the winter, the Market board has several projects they will be working on that include a community garden located at the Mulberry Community Center, the first of several planned in the county, and a community apple orchard beside the skate park in Pomeroy.
Market vendors donated over two and one half tons of produce that was used and distributed at the Mulberry Center’s Country Kitchen and Food Pantry. Rife noted that while most of the projects and food donations are centered in Pomeroy, they have and are reaching out to other areas of the county.
“We don’t want this just to be a Pomeroy focused outreach,” Rife said. “We are very much interested in having community gardens and the generously donated produce by our vendors spread throughout the county, but to do so we need other communities to respond to our offers. We are here to serve all of Meigs County.”
For more information on the Meigs County Farmers’ Market, visit their Facebook page, or go to meigscountyfarmersmarket.com.
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Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.