Farmer’s Market thriving in new, more visible, location

Staff Writer Kate Wehlann

Pass by the Washington County Justice Center on a Saturday morning and you’ll find the parking lot is fuller than it should be for a building that’s closed on Saturdays.

The Washington County Farmer’s Market has moved from its previous location at the fairgrounds to the back of the parking lot at the justice center (on Jackson Street) this summer and vendors say they like the change.

Saturday, June 30, was Purlee Farms’ sixth week in business at the location.

“We bought from the old farmer’s market and I’d say this is more convenient,” said Quentin Purlee. He and his friend, Ridge Hall were selling beef out of a freezer on their truck at the market. He said the customer traffic had been fairly steady.

“We started selling our own beef a few months ago,” Purlee said. “We found out no one was selling beef at the market and we saw it as an opportunity … I like when we have repeat customers and when people say it’s the best they’ve ever had. It tells us we’re doing something right.”

Lisa Brown used to sell at the farmer’s market and stopped for a few years before returning this year. She sells vegetables, along with breads and other baked goods, sorghum, jellies, eggs and pork.

“I had a full-time job and it was just too much to keep up with the breads and the farm,” she said. “Now, I do this full-time and focus on this.”

Cornucopia Farm’s Jared Baird and his family have been long-time members of the farmer’s market vendors. Baird said his parents, Kevin and Linda, were integral in starting the market around 20 years ago.

“We typically raise tomatoes and there’s mums, pumpkins and squashes later on,” he said. “The farm is open in the fall on the weekends. We sell honey, too.”

While his stall often sells out and Cornucopia Farm has had loyal customers for a long time, Baird said the traffic at the new location has been better.

“It’s great having road frontage,” he said. “I’d like to encourage people who haven’t been to our new location or the farmer’s market in a while to come by. We have a good range of products, from eggs, to bread, to meat, to vegetables.”

The market is open from around 8 a.m. until around noon every Saturday.

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