Let's Get Fresh: Reflecting Back on 2009 When the Market Came to Be
By Bob Workman on October 04, 2015
As we near the end of another season of the Bridgeport Farmers Market I can’t help but reflect back on that first day in July of 2009. And the thing that stands out the most in my mind is the vendor count, or lack thereof. We had seven, yes, seven vendors that beautiful, sunny Sunday. Now fast forward to the 2015 season. This season there wasn’t a Sunday where we had less than 40 vendors!
Amazingly, four of the original seven are still with us: Gardner Farms, Hawthorne Valley Farms, Shipley’s Forest Hill Farm, and Dave’s Greenhouse. The Market would like to thank these hard working folks for their loyalty these seven seasons. No one would have blamed them for not wanting to come back that second season but they saw something intangible that maybe even the founders and volunteers didn’t see back then.
A farmer’s market doesn’t grow six and seven-fold without a few other potential vendors seeing the same intangibles and this season saw the largest influx of new vendors since the Market’s founding. Please stop by and visit with one of these ten regular vendors who are finishing up their first season at the BFM.
Running Bug Farm, West Union
Wild Hart Farm, Braxton County
Little Red Hen Bakery, Fairmont
In A Jam Homemade Jams, Parkersburg
Quantum Bean Coffee, Bridgeport
Bistro Bros Foods, Weston
WV 00 Bagel Company, Morgantown
That Smoothie Guy, Bridgeport
Dirty Happy Creations, Bridgeport
Mike Diaz Woodworker,
Our two new farmers, Running Bug and Wild Hart, are both small, working farms that follow organic practices. Jen and John of Running Bug and Gianni and Chappelle of Wild Hart are among the most unique, genuine people you will come across at the Market. And their product offerings are as unique as they are. Check them out today.
The ladies of Little Red Hen Bakery have broadened the already wide variety of baked goods available at the Market. I highly recommend the onion hamburger buns! In the tent next door you will find Andrea Duke of In A Jam. Andrea’s jams, preserves, and other canned items (including last week’s quarts of fresh grape juice) have added a delicious touch of old-fashioned West Virginia to the Market.
If you are a regular reader of this column you will remember the guest blog a few weeks back written by Sam of Quantum Bean Coffee. Suffice to say, Sam and his wife Susan might be the most popular of the new vendors among the early Sunday morning BFM setup crew. Sam has lived up to his promise of showing up early to provide us all a much needed jolt of java each week and we thank him for that.
We were fortunate to be able to add two new prepared food vendors to the roster this season. Chef Emily Smith-Zimmerman of WV 00Bagel Company not only boils and bakes the best bagels in WV but she then combines them with fresh items purchased from other Market vendors to create mouth-watering sandwiches. No wonder she sells out every week. Bistro Bros is the brainchild of the Rinehart brothers and seeks to bring good, fresh simple food to the people. And they did that to perfection this season. I’ll miss the pork loin sandwiches most of all. No worries, they’ll be back next spring.
That Smoothie Guy is the alter ego of the Market’s guitarist-in-residence . has moved a couple of tents down from the Music Tent this season and gotten in touch with his inner health nut self. Most weeks have found up to his elbows in berries, kale, and mangoes.
It’s not easy to get into the Market as an artisan vendor but our two newest artisans were more then up to the task. I wrote here a few weeks back about our new candle vendor, Dirty Hippie Creations, and their cool soy candles with even cooler names. They also have one of the most colorful tents at the Market. And lastly, Mike Diaz’s beautiful hand-made furniture and other wood-crafted items have brought a touch of class to the Market’s offerings. Stop by and sit a spell on one of his benches and you’ll probably end up taking one home for your dining room. All of Mike’s creations are crafted from WV hardwoods.
Thanks to all the vendors, new and old, for helping to make the BFM the acknowledged #1 Farmers Market in West Virginia! Don’t believe me? Click here: http://markets.farmland.org/market/bridgeport-farmers-market/
This week don’t miss guitarist Seth Maynard of Elkins under the Music Tent. Seth is one of the most versatile musicians I know around these parts so you’re liable to hear jazz, rock, country, or even an old standard or two today.