FAIRMONT — While local farmers have places where they can grow food, selling it is another story.
Meredith Knight got a start with her own growing business Grey Squirrel Farms last year. The business is where she produces her own syrup, honey and eggs.
“We have maple syrup from our trees,” Knight said. “We have the trees on our property, collect it there and everything, and then we have honey from hives on our property and we do duck and chicken eggs.”
Starting last week, Knight could bring her product to the Fairmont Farmers Market which takes place every Tuesday and Thursday from 4-6 p.m. in Palatine Park. According to its leadership, the market allows sellers to gain exposure alongside other organizations all in one place.
“We’re providing fresh, locally grown food for people,” said Joni Costante, manager of the Farmers Market and owner of Goatsbeard Farm. “If you go to the grocery store, radishes that you’re picking up probably came from California, and mine came from Morgantown.”
The Fairmont Farmers Market has been in the city for some years now, but moved from Veterans Square to Palatine Park last year, which Costante said was a helpful move to the sellers thanks to more convenient location and parking.
“It turned out well,” she said. “We’re hoping to build it even more.”
Costante also said the move helped to gain more sellers, and last year there were days during which as many as 12 vendors participated at a time. Last year’s market took in about $30,000 dollars through the sales of 18 different vendors at 38 market dates.
Costante and the other vendors said this market is helpful because otherwise, they may not get to sell as much product due to potentially more inconvenient travel.
“We did really well last year,” said Ray Carr of Carr Farms. “I’m grateful for the spot, it has good accessibility.”
Other sellers include nonprofits which use the market to sell product and raise money for their cause.
“These are some of the plants they have raised and we sell them here at the Farmers Market,” said Ann Burns of the Homestead Farm Center. “That helps provide funds for our programs.”
Costante said that the vendors at the market could be making a living selling foods they’ve grown, which is why it’s important to provide this opportunity to them. The opportunity is also a positive for shoppers because they can learn about the foods they purchase and the people who grow it through the market.
“Some people are supplementing their income, maybe it’s all their income,” Costante said. “You’re able to talk to the folks that grew it and ask if they used poison on their stuff or if it’s organic.
“It’s a more personal way to shop.”
With the vendors in place at the market providing everything from plants to proteins, the sellers are now hoping to attract people to Palatine Park through their offerings as well as events throughout the summer. Knight said she is happy to be a part of the farm, because of the convenience of its location compared to that of her own farm.
Costante said more information about the Farmers Market is available on Facebook, including information for interested vendors. However, she said vendors can show up to the market on Tuesdays or Thursdays and fill out some paperwork to be a part of the market as well.
“We’re trying to figure out what’s going to make the market more successful,” Knight said. “I’m pretty rural so to have people drive to my farm would be inconvenient.”