Beaver Dam Community Farmer’s Market opened Saturday May 26th to a receptive crowd. With the expansion completed, in part due to the grant that the City of Beaver Dam received last year, this year’s market hopes to be bigger than ever. Events are scheduled all summer long, to make sure everyone knows that this is “THE” place to be on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. through October, along with Tuesday afternoons from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., through July.
The Beaver Dam Community Farmer’s Market began in 2011, with 8 venders, by 2017, that number had increased to 27 vendors with sales increasing each year.
Purchasing items at the BDCFM is easier than ever. Along with cash, most vendors accept credit or debit cards. Also accepted are some of the non-traditional forms of payment, making BDCFM even more beneficial to shoppers. Double Dollars vouchers through the Community Farm Alliance Program from Berea help stretch the food dollar for those who need it most.
Women, Infant and Children participants; WIC, families with children 5 years and younger who are at nutritional risk can participate in the Double Dollars program in efforts to help make healthier food choices. This is an added bonus to already existing benefits. Ohio County Health Department can give more information to interested parties.
Anita Smith with the Ohio County Food Pantry, helps spread the word about the Double Dollars program to our senior community. WIC and senior participants can bring 2 of their $4.00 vouchers, and receive $8.00 worth of produce. Up to two vouchers can be redeemed per market day, so now they are up to $16.00 worth of farm fresh produce. For seniors alone this means twice the food, enabling them to feed themselves healthier food, with the long term effect of hopefully lowering health risks related to unhealthy eating.
Choosing to shop locally at your farmers market supports farmers and our community by keeping consumer money right here at home, funneled from the purchaser directly to the farmer. Usually, the person growing the produce is the person selling you the produce. Freshly picked, in season at its peak in flavor and nutrition. Food planted, grown and picked by neighbors in our community keeps the entrepreneurial spirit alive on our local family farms.
Booths are available for rent from the city for $50.00 per year, including the indoor market that’s held in the Art Guild Building during the winter months. Booths are also available to youth members of the market with a $20.00 annual fee.
BDCFM Event Coordinator Debbie Stofer says with a small grant and a few sponsors for the market, the initial $3,000 market has grown from a $20,000 a year market to a $60,000 to $65,000 annual market. Her goal is to have the different events make the market like a “mini-festival” each weekend.
According to John Stofer, the market’s Facebook page, helps inform the community and customers about events and products available each week.
This years scheduled events, are sure to please. All summer long, there are a variety of things to do, and one of the favorite weekends, was the upcoming Children’s’ Day at the market, sponsored by Ohio County Hospital, Rice Drugs and Ohio County UK Extension Office. BDCFM is planning for up to 500 children, in hopes of promoting healthy eating habits and the benefits of utilizing locally grown food.
There will be give aways and nutrition programs held by the Ohio County UK Extension Office, to spread awareness about the difference of purchasing from grocery stores versus the freshness of farmers market produce.
The market opening day was full of the sounds and smells of summer. The weather was perfect, and so was the produce. It’s very appealing to stroll through the vendors booths and tables, looking at the wonderful variety of fruits and vegetables, hand made items, and arts and crafts, and it turns the mundane task of shopping to a pleasure rather than a chore. The Stofers’ both work tirelessly to promote the family atmosphere of the Beaver Dam Community Farmers Market. Debbie says “It’s just a wonderful place to be, it’s like coming home to a family reunion…with people you like!”
— Kathrine Newman-Timmons, myKYNews.com