The Hope Farmer’s market returned Tuesday morning to kick off the 2021 season.
Hope Public Schools (HPS) Child Nutrition Services Director Deanna Gilbert is in charge of the Farmer’s market this year and she says that the goal this year is to rebuild after the impact the COVID-19 pandemic left on the market last year.
“Last year hurt a little bit but we’re hoping this year to rebuild,” she said. “That’s our goal is to rebuild and hopefully get this place packed out.”
The pandemic decreased the number of patrons as well as venders that were in attendance last year, hurting the market tremendously.
“We definitely have fewer venders compared to previous years but we hope that will change throughout the season,” Jodi Coffee, who is involved with the Hope Farmers’ Market, said. “We hope to rebuild and to just be the go-to spot for fresh food.”
There are still some restrictions this year due to the pandemic, including not being able to touch the produce on the tables and that all food has to be prepackaged, but this year marks the return of the hospitality table which Coffee is very excited about.
“The hospitality table is an opportunity for businesses and individuals to come out and support the market as well share information and tell folks what they do,” she said. “It’s to meet and greet the public.”
The hospitality table was hosted by Hope Public Schools this week and allowed visitors to stop by for a hot cup of coffee and sign up for a chance to win the weekly giveaway basket, full of local produce and handmade goodies.
This year there are currently about 10-12 venders with the hope for that number to increase throughout the year. The venders in attendance Tuesday morning were Diane Young with the Young Sprouts who sells tomato plants, pepper plants, rosemary, sage and basil plants, and a few flowering plants, Fern Dixon with Mrs. Fern’s Fried Pies who sells a delicious variety of homemade fried pies (apricot, apple, chocolate, coconut, peach and pecan), Jason Bolls with Heirloom Farms who sells spring mix lettuce, radishes and lemon balm plants, Shannon Salinas with Dandy Creek Farms who sells cilantro, Patricia Rhoads with Bright Family Farm who sells fresh herb bundles, potted flowers, rugs, and little girl sun dresses. Melanie Solomon with Solomon’s Farm who sells turnip greens, radishes and local honey. Also a variety of bath and body products, and Tricia Salinas with Salinas Farms who sells strawberries and limited new potatoes as well as jellies and honey. Lynn Arnold with Arnolds Farms was supposed to be in attendance but was not there this week due to unforeseen circumstances. They will be there next week with new potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, possibly cauliflower and onions.
“Just think a year ago we weren’t able to get together like this,” Bobby Hart, current superintendent of Hope Public Schools, said. “It’s really nice to be together in a group of people like this, especially a group of like-minded people who care this much about Hope.”
The Farmer’s Market is open every Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at THE HUB downtown.
“Everybody please come out to support our local farmers,” Gilbert said. “We can’t rebuild unless we got the community behind us. We want the community to show up because they just don’t know what they will find Tuesday mornings.”