The Ashland Beacon
This year’s Greenup Farmers Market will be so much more than just a place to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables. “We want the farmers market to be a community destination,” said Anne Stephens, Extension Agent for Fine Arts and Community Development. “Of course, the corn, the beans, and the tomatoes sell themselves. But we also want people to come in and find something new and interesting – local handmade articles.”
This year’s market will feature a wide variety of items from artisans, Stephens said. “The woodworking artisan makes bowls, rolling pins, and cutting boards, among other things. We have a baker who makes gluten-free items.”
The Greenup Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning at the historic McConnell House, just off US 23 at the intersection with the Industrial Parkway. “This year, we’re expanding our hours to 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturdays and we’re going to have an evening session, from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Thursdays,” she said.
Opening day is earlier this year as well, on May 1, which is Derby Day. “We’re inviting food trucks in this year, and we’ll have music on the first Saturday of each month. We really want the farmers market to be a destination, a place where the community can gather, mingle and enjoy the local produce and homemade, handmade products.”
“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback about the location, we have a nice grassy area and shade trees. Come on down and have breakfast, walk around and chat with people, or have a picnic lunch,” she said.
Stephens explained that the farmers market is directly affiliated with the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). “You are buying certified produce,” she said, noting that the vendors and artisans are juried, going through a process to be approved to participate. She said about 20 vendors are approved so far.
Jim Fields, president of the Greenup Farmers Market, said, “Our market is different in that we want to include the entire community, promote our local small businesses, and encourage people to shop local, in addition to our fresh farm produce.”
Fields said other activities are planned this year so that there is something for everyone. “Every third Thursday will be Education Day at the farmers market, with activities for children. We want to educate people about the concerns of our farmers, like native pollinators and bees.” He said they will have menus available, with ideas on how to use the products being sold.
Stephens and Fields both mentioned the return of the Farm-to-table Dinner, under the direction of Carrie Davis. First held in 2019, the event wasn’t held in 2020, but is being planned for July 17 this year. And Fields mentioned the group, Friends of the Farmers Market which raises money through donations for senior citizens to use not only at the market, but at Helping Hands in Greenup.
Fields said that, like most rural communities, Greenup is a patriotic county, and the Farmers Market plans to hold several events to honor the military and first responders, such as a Patriot Month, Military Appreciation day, Flag Day events, and the history of the American flag and how to treat it.
“We just have so many great people who will be here with their farm goods, and vendors with their products,” said Fields. “We have Holli Ross who sells gluten-free breads and baked goods, Dave Stercke with his woodcraft products, The Goat Lady Farm will be back with her soaps and other products.”
“Farming with the Howards is a stand set up by Steven and Whitney Howard, a young family trying to make a living farming. They sell all kinds of produce.”
Meats will also be available this year. “One family, the Owens family, will sell pork and beef that they raise. Happy Hill Farmstand will sell chicken and rabbit,” he said.
One thing both Fields and Stephens are excited about is the future of the Greenup Farmers Market – they are in the planning stages of a permanent structure. Fields said from time to time, they will auction off gift baskets to help fund the structure. “Last year we auctioned a 65-pound watermelon, donated by Randy and Debbie Felty.
The Farmers Market will officially end the last weekend of October, but there will be events in November and December to offer shoppers the opportunity to purchase Christmas gifts. Fields said that would probably be held at Imel’s Greenhouse where there is a structure. “We’re trying to be creative, and offer a longer season.”
“We just want to make this a place to be,” said Fields. “Come on out on the first Saturday of the month, sit under the shade trees and listen to music. You don’t even have to buy anything.”