Communities can benefit from farmers’ markets

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, April 26, 2017

by Livvy Preisser

A farmers’ market can say much about its city. Local residents come there to make their purchases and form relationships with the farmers and vendors. Tourists come to the area, eat in the restaurants that use the locally grown food, and shop in the unique downtown shops of local artisans of the area.

Consumers are now a generation or so removed from farm life. There are kids and adults as well who have no idea how their food is grown or where it comes from, even though we live in a rural area.

In 2006, there were 88 farmers’ markets in Virginia. In 2016, there were around 250 local farmers markets.

Virginia Cooperative Extension estimates that if each household spent $10 a week on local produce, consumers could invest $1.65 billion back into the local economy. This is a very good motivation to support your local farmers’ market.

One goal of the market will be to engage with a number of local organizations to promote and make the community aware of the benefits of healthy eating habits and exercise. It is also a goal to educate about where our food comes from and how it is grown in the Commonwealth.

Franklin hopes to revitalize its farmers market at the pavilion downtown and make it a place to meet and become aware of all this area has to offer. There is a wealth of potential product, which is grown and unique to Franklin and the surrounding area and waiting to be shared.

Because of our length of growing season here, we have strawberries in May to collards in January. In between, there are sweet potatoes, broccoli, okra, cabbage and many others. There are several local farms that raise their own beef and poultry. Year round, there are eggs, honey, local mushrooms, peanuts, baked goods, homemade soaps, lotions, flowers, artisans and musicians, all of which Franklin can call its own.

Our season will begin on Wednesday, May 3, at the pavilion located on 210 S. Main St. Not every city is lucky enough to have a pavilion such as this. Many have to put up tents and park away from their product. Wednesday evenings from 4 to 7 allows people to come by to make their purchases for the weekend before heading to the beach or lake. They may want to stay for the car show, listen to some music and take a midweek break. Saturday will also be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information, call 653-2572 or visit on Facebook at Downtown Franklin Farmers Market, VA.

LIVVY PREISSER is the Extension agent, agriculture and natural resources. Contact her at 653-2572. Karen Cobb also contributed to this article.