June 16, 2011

Farmers' Market Providing Fresh Produce to Shoppers for 3rd Year

by Hannah Kiddoo

On Thursday afternoons, the south side of the courthouse lawn fills with tables of produce and locally made products. Even on rainy days, customers eager to grab some fresh foods peruse the vendors, taking advantage of the wide selection.

As an agriculturally driven community, Memphis has always seen an interest in locally grown goods and during the growing season, fresh produce is readily available. Over the years, individuals and small groups came and sold produce on the square, but there was no collective effort to have a full-scale market for those items, explained market co-organizer Jeanne Snodgrass.

In 2009 a group of organizers established a new non-profit farmers' market with set times and dates. The market, stated Snodgrass, is a way to directly support local growers and artisans in the community. For shoppers, there are additional advantages to buying the locally produced goods.

"It is a great way to ask questions about your food since as a growers' market, the vendors are the ones who grew and picked, or baked, what you're buying. It's also fun to come and hang out with everyone," said Snodgrass.

Shoppers have enjoyed being able to pick up a variety of items with local roots and low prices.

"It's handy," explained shopper Dana Glasscock. "I like getting the fresh produce. There's a lot of diversity. I like the rolls, sweets and soaps, too." Glasscock also mentioned that specialty items, such as poison ivy anti-itch soap are available at great prices.

For those interested in selling goods, Snodgrass explained that becoming a vendor is as easy as showing up at the market. A small fee will be collected and vendors will be asked to follow a few basic rules: vendors must be the original producer of what they sell and goods must be grown or created in Scotland or a surrounding county.

"We would love to have anyone who is growing their own produce or making their own products or crafts," she added.

The farmers' market takes place Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m. and will last until mid-August. Questions about the market can be directed to Snodgrass at 660-883-5614.

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