Barbour County Farm Market
by Roanna Martin
One of the challenges that farmers face in taking their products to market is the labor cost involved with sitting at the stand all day. Barbour County Farm Market, located in Philippi, WV takes an approach that helps to minimize this limitation of traditional farmers markets. In 2011, there were 84 participating local growers, and the market as a whole sold over $24,000 in produce, meat and eggs.
This aggregation style market works by assigning a vendor number to each farmer who brings product, and then the numbers are collected as produce is sold in order to keep track of the money owed to the vendors. These beautiful wooden boxes hold the produce, and a stack of the vendor numbers. There is a variety of vegetables available, as well as some very appetizing baked goods.
In addition to providing an opportunity for farmers to sell their product, and for community members to purchase fresh and delicious vegetables, baked goods, meat, and eggs, the Barbour County market offers services to the community such as free cooking demos. At a recent demonstration, two simple soups were prepared with fresh ingredients. Around 150 people from the community came out to sample the soups and took home the recipes. Another market activity involved popping fresh popcorn at a tasting event- starting from the ears of popcorn. The market is run under the umbrella of Heart and Hand ministries, and partners with various community organizations such as Philippi Main Street, the Family Resource Network, and the Senior Citizens Center.
People receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamp) benefits can use their EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards at the market to purchase healthy, fresh produce.
Reg, the market manager has a sales and marketing background and has done a great job in working with the market. The greatest challenge that he finds in operating the market is finding consistent and good products. The market is in its twentieth year of operation, and this year the market opened in mid-March. The hours of the market have expanded, and it is now on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 9-2.
To find out more about the market, visit http://www.heartandhandhouse.org/home/ministries/garden-market
Or better yet, if you’re driving through Philippi, stop in and see the great things that are happening here!