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Farmers market sees successful year

By Staff | Jan 2, 2015

With the chill of winter nipping in the air, the Shepherdstown Farmers Market said its temporary goodbye to the community Sunday afternoon – closing on one of its most successful seasons yet.

Held every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. behind the Shepherdstown Public Library, the farmers market has been a locally collaborative effort for the past 23 years.

More than 16 vendors congregate in rain or shine each week to sell a number of fresh cheeses, fruits, vegetables, homemade breads, artisan baskets, flower arrangements, herbs and a number of other goods depending on the season.

“It’s been a very good market this year and it’s probably been one of our more successful years,” said Bill Grantham, one of the market’s original vendors. “I think that’s mainly because people want to support the small farm movement.”

The Shepherdstown Farmers Market plans to return the first Sunday in April, which will be Sunday, April 5, according to Grantham.

While it’s been more than two decades since the market began, Grantham said he can still recall memories of trying to push the resolution through town council.

“We went to town council seven times to get this started. There were three of us. Finally, councilman Branson said ‘Look, let these people have their market,'” Grantham said.

Since then, the market has evolved into more than just a spot to pick up fresh spaghetti squash – just ask Megan Webber.

Webber, a 17-year vendor, said the market has grown within the community and developed.

“We don’t want to be a farmer’s market that comes in one day a week just to sell produce and make money,” Webber said. “And we haven’t. We feel like we are a part of this community.”

In fact, the Shepherdstown farmer’s market had one of its most successful seasons this year in part because of communal efforts, Webber said.

Over the summer, Webber said the market hosted a farm-to-fork dinner that featured all of the produce sold by the vendors. The dinner was prepared and served by the local restaurants to show people first-hand the accessibility of the local farm-to-fork movement.

“It was very successful. We had a good season this year, but the farm-to-fork event definitely put us over the top,” Webber said.

But with another farmer’s market season drawing to a close for the winter, Webber said there is still much work to be done.

She said she will stay busy gathering seeds and planning for the April opening, but not before stopping to enjoy the Christmas holiday with family.