After being in a temporary location the past two weeks, the Warren County Farmers Market will transition to a new home for the remainder of the season starting Saturday, June 12. Market vendors will be set up from 8 a.m. until noon in the parking lot of the Warren County Health Department, 544 W. Ridgeway St., Warrenton.
Always N Bloom Flowers and Garden Center had provided the market with a temporary location after vendors were notified they could no longer sell from Warrenton’s North Main Street once town commissioner Kimberly Harding brought to light a law forbidding sales from state road right-of-ways.
“We want to say thank you to Always N Bloom Flowers and Garden Center. They offered road frontage, covered space and graciously welcomed us,” said Danylu Hundley, a vendor and member of the Warren County Growers Association executive board. “They offered us a clean area and adjusted their own needs to meet ours.”
Hundley also offered thanks for the outpouring of support from community members and farmers market customers, who reached out to them during the transition period.
“Our customers remained vigilant and determined to support us,” she said.
The market received multiple offerings of space, Hundley said, as the executive board tried to determine the best alternative going forward in a short period of time.
Working with the county and Cooperative Extension, the health department parking lot was offered as a location. Hundley credited County Manager Vincent Jones with the idea, and also acknowledged the work of Dr. Margaret Brake, county health director, as well as Warren County Cooperative Extension staff Crystal Smith, director, and Paul McKenzie.
From the county perspective, Jones said that the county wanted to support the Growers’ Association and the market as pandemic recovery began. Also, earlier this year the county commissioners made agri-business a key part of the county’s strategic plan.
“We definitely wanted to keep the market in town, in a safe and visible location. The organizers are pretty passionate about what they need in order to remain successful,” he said. “At this point, I’m happy that we were able to come up with a temporary solution that everyone is happy with.”
Jones said he hopes this is the start of a more substantive conversation about the long-term viability of the farmers market.
“The county has proactively placed this issue in our five-year Capital Improvement Plan, but we’d be happy to partner with any of the parties that have reached out to the association, to make sure we have a farmers market that represents the county well, and provides an outlet for our farmers, small or large,” he said.
This Saturday, five to six vendors will be offering yellow squash, turnip salad, zucchini, fresh garlic, farm fresh eggs, shiitake mushrooms, baked goods including zucchini bread, jams and jellies, honey, molasses, thornless blackberry bushes and more.
Hundley said that farmers market vendors will also be offering their wares on Mondays and Wednesdays as other produce comes in, such as peaches in late June, so watch the market emails for details. To get on the list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.