Thoughts About Farmer’s Markets

My brother in law is a coffee roaster and has been vending his creations at the Chillicothe Farmer’s Market for at least a decade. I’ve been there several times and it’s an amazing place. It takes place every Saturday morning from opening until noon and it draws a wide variety of vendors and a consistently large crowd of shoppers. During the season he also participates in several markets in the Columbus area and they too are well attended by both sellers and buyers.

On a recent Saturday, I was passing through Washington CH and noticed on one of the downtown side streets what appeared to be a thriving market.

So, with all this apparent popularity and success I have to ask what’s the deal with Greenfield’s Farmer’s Market? It began around ten years ago in a large parking lot at the west side of town and for the first two years seemed to be headed towards success. Then all of a sudden it began to dry up as if someone was slowly turning off the water tap.

I don’t know who is running it now but a couple of weeks ago I drove by and could only count three vendors and zero customers. Why is that? Well, I have a few ideas and I’m going to voice them with the hope that I don’t step on anyone’s toes.

First, in the beginning, they only permitted vendors who made their own crafts, baked their own cookies, and grew their own potatoes. The door was closed to a few vendors who were going to the Bainbridge produce sale on Wednesdays and reselling fresh and locally grown, vegetables on Thursdays. To me, they were doing no harm and in fact benefited the market by bringing veggies to market earlier than the home gardeners could.

Second, the community just didn’t show its support. Unless it’s a house fire or a head-on most drivers on Jefferson Street just drive by whatever event is happening, farmer’s markets included.

Third, the location has been changed at least three times and none of those locals had the exposure and ease of parking that the first did. Shopko’s parking was in plain sight, was easy to enter and exit, and there was plenty of parking area. For the second time now the market is located behind the city building and is so hidden it seems a case of outta sight, outta mind.

Next, why not permit a little bit of flea market vending to be part of the event? I’m not talking stick on tattoos and hillbilly teeth vendors. I’m talking about people who sell antiques and other collectibles. Broaden the variety and maybe “they will come.”

And finally, there’s Community Market. I recently stopped on a Thursday to pick up some scripts at Stewart’s Pharmacy and the place was packed. For a year or two CM has run a half off all veggies sale during the same hours that the FM is going on. While it’s good for their customers it’s bad for the FM. Every half off carrot CM sells is a dagger in the backs of FM’s vendors. Maybe that’s good business but is it playing fair ball? So, I suggest CM show a little respect and change their sale day to a day that doesn’t conflict. Or, maybe the people running the FM consider changing their day to avoid conflict.

I’ve always wanted the best for our FM and I hope those interested bodies will put some serious time into trying to figure out how to keep this thing alive and breath life back into it.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.