POINT PLEASANT—The Mason County Farmer’s Market continues to offer fresh, locally grown produce in spite of uncertainty in consumer demand for locally produced food.
Clark Harper, coordinator of the Mason County Farmer’s Market, said vendors usually sell about 90 percent of what they bring to the market each day, but it can be tricky for vendors to know what will sell one week compared to another week because the consumer demand is unpredictable.
“You bring what you have,” he said.”And you have to have patience to do this. It (consumer demand) comes and goes.”
Harper said new vendors are welcome to show up and start selling anytime the market is in operation. The start-up fee is $10 per vendor, and the market owns tables that are available for use.
“This is a nice place to sell,” he said. “You can sell produce and make a little money and have a lot of people to talk to.”
The market offers $5 vouchers for senior citizens who qualify, which Harper said they can sign up for and pick up at the Senior Citizen Center.
Kevin Brown, a market vendor, has participated in the county’s farmer’s market for 10 years. He said the demand for local produce is on the decline because of a lack of education about local produce, a decline in home cooking and a lack of interest in eating healthy.
“It used to be a way of life. Everybody had a garden. It was rare that you ever ate out,” Brown said. “I think it’s more healthy to cook your own food.”
He said younger people don’t usually visit the farmer’s market because of a lack of education about the health benefits of consuming and cooking with local produce
Brown brings a variety of fruits and vegetables to sell each week and said his most popular items include fresh blackberries, blueberries, green beans, corn, tomatoes, melons and potatoes.
“I was raised on this kind of food,” he said. “People need to eat healthy because they’ll pay for it later in life. It’s a matter of priority in life about what you want to spend money on.”
The county farmer’s market has been in operation for about 15 years. It takes place every Wednesday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon under the Bartow Jones Bridge on First Street during June-October.