OHIO VALLEY — One of the signs of summer (and normalcy) is the local farmers market.
Locally, markets have traditionally been set up in Meigs, Gallia and Mason counties. Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, farmers and artisan markets either have returned or are planning that return to the public for the season.
The 2020 season of the Meigs County Farmers’ Market returned earlier this month, offering essential items such as food, plants and soaps. As COVID-19 restrictions have been systematically lifted, artisan and other vendors are gradually rejoining the market with live music scheduled this weekend and food demonstrations starting June 6.
The Meigs County Farmers’ Market takes place each Saturday from May 2 through Oct. 31 on the lower end of the Pomeroy Parking Lot. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday.
This weekend, musician Chad Dodson is scheduled to play from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Then from 11 a.m. to noon on June 6, a food demonstration will be featured with Jessica Wolf and Rick Werner. The demonstration will included an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert made of all seasonal (spring) dishes with an Italian inspiration.
According to the market’s Facebook page, the appetizer will be deep-fried artichoke hearts (Carciofi Fritti) — a classic Italian spring dish. Next will be a springtime pasta featuring fresh fettuccini and a ragout of fresh springtime vegetables. Last, but not least, strawberry tiramisu.
During it’s first year in 2019, the market averaged 17 vendors per week with fresh produce, baked good and handmade items available each week. Cooking demonstrations also took place once a month, with live music also taking place throughout the summer.
In 2019, the market, which was open each Saturday from early June to the end of October, sold a total of 20,321 pounds of local produce, including peppers, onions, tomatoes, peaches, squash, pumpkins and much more.
For more on the Farmers’ Market visit the Meigs County Farmers’ Market on Facebook.
In Gallia County, Raised Around Rio, a farmers and artisan market, will celebrate its opening day on Wednesday, June 3.
Like many markets, it’s reopening for the season following special guidelines from state health officials to keep customers and vendors safe following the COVID-19 virus outbreak.
As reported earlier, the Meigs County Farmer’s Market opened with social distancing safeguards in place, including spacing between vendors, limits on entry and exit points and some individuals wearing masks
According to the Raised Around Rio market’s Facebook page, vendors must wear a mask and will have hand sanitizer available in each tent; customers are asked not to touch products unless planning on purchasing that item; bags will be available for your purchases. Vendors will also be placing tents six feet apart. Customers are also encouraged to wear a mask and practice social distancing by staying six feet part.
“Please bear with us with all these changes,” the page stated. “We are excited to get to open and serve our community! We had planned many activities for this season but we will hold off on those until next year! Thank you for your support and we will see you on June 3rd at 4-7 p.m.”
This week, the Raised Around Rio Facebook page reported at least 15 vendors were scheduled to attend the opening night of the market, with more being added to the list. Vendors are offering everything from produce, to jams and jellies, to clothing, desserts, artisan bread, pet treats and shampoos, honey and more.
“Raised Around Rio is important because of community involvement,” Jennifer Littlejohn, event organizer, previously told Ohio Valley Publishing. “We have a lot of local talent and local artisans that need to show off their talent. We help them because we’re an artisan market and not just a farmer’s market. There are a lot of people who don’t want to travel to Charleston, Huntington or even Athens to get produce or goods. We’re here local and we’re here for local people and visitors.”
Typically, the “Raised” market begins when the weather begins to warm up and is held through early September every Wednesday on North College Avenue in Rio Grande from 4 to 7 p.m. Though the market had expanded to include Saturdays last year, Littlejohn said for 2020, it would only be open on Wednesdays. The market has previously hosted just under 50 vendors.
For information on these extra safety precautions and to receive updates on business hours and health safety guidelines, visit Raised Around Rio’s Facebook page.
In Mason County, the annual farmers market is typically held in late spring through early October, on First Street under the Bartow Jones Bridge in Point Pleasant. Information on this year’s market plans were not available prior to press time but will be reported when available.
Beth Sergent, Sarah Hawley and Dean Wright contributed to this story.
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