Farmers’ Market blooms in Richmond – The Voice
Networking among the right people was key to creating the new Richmond Farmers’ Market, a long-awaited local business venture that takes place in the city on Thursdays until October 27.
On June 20, Richmond City Council approved a special event request from Flora’s Trash to Treasure and Heirloom Acres Farms to host the city’s Farmer’s Market from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays from June 30 through October 27, except during the Good Old Days Festival, scheduled for September 8-11. The market takes place near the Veterans Memorial Park on Main Street and in the municipal parking lot behind the park, in the area between two buildings.
“We just hope we can bring something really nice, you know, and every week to Richmond. There is definitely a need. If you’ve opened up Facebook, that’s probably one of the biggest things people ask for,” market organizer Melissa Majchrzak told the council. “And even when I go to my spring market, I have people, constantly, ‘Are you going to do this more often?’ ‘Can you bring the vegetables and fruits?’ and stuff like that, so we’re willing to try.
The market welcomes independent local farmers, mainly those who practice organic farming. A variety of farm items are usually available, such as fresh produce, flowers, eggs, fresh baked goods, jams, jellies, honey, other farm produce, and artisan goods handmade.
Stores in downtown Richmond, near the Veterans Memorial, have extended their hours on Farmer’s Market dates to promote local shopping.
“I’ve had feelers out for the last, just a week and a half. And I’ve got 12 signed, already signed, before we handed out an app,” market organizer Halley Schwab told the board. And I have about 15 other people who are figuring out their schedules, waiting to hear more details depending on approval.”
City council briefs from June 20 indicate that a few years ago the city’s Economic Development Corporation tried to develop a market that would take place on Thursday evenings, but the EDC had difficulty securing commitments. and find agricultural connections. During the meeting, City Manager Jon Moore said the EDC market was attempted before COVID-19, but getting started proved problematic. The objective of the EDC is to foster the economic development of the city by promoting the growth and development of industrial and commercial enterprises, primarily with the aim of retaining and attracting businesses.
“As part of the EDC, we worked, I think it’s been 15 years, because we had this idea once. We tried to get him to leave, he fell. We never did. We really pushed it a few years ago, with an expansive plan, and we were never able to find the farmers,” Councilor Jamie Greene said. “And so the City of Richmond, we are very small business friendly and it’s amazing that 12 signed up that it was pretty much the right people and the right time and hopefully we as a council will support them and maybe as it could potentially become, back to EDC, and yet we can support them as well.
Flora’s Trash to Treasure is owned by Majchrzak and is located at 69268 N. Main St. in Richmond. This is a shop selling repurposed, vintage and locally made home decor.
Majchrzak said that for the past few years his company has offered a vintage road trip market on the weekends after Mother’s Day. It was with the idea of having a pop-up shop selling fresh flowers a few times a month that she contacted Schwab, the owner of Heirloom Acres Farms, around the beginning of June.
“The more we talked, the more she would tell me about some of the fruits and vegetables and the things that she grows. She is a member of a cooperative and therefore has connections,” Majchrzak said.
Through discussions, Majchrzak and Schwab developed the idea of the Farmers’ Market, planning to lure Schwab’s connections to Richmond with a weekday evening opportunity. Schwab said many self-employed farmers have primary jobs. Majchrzak said many independent farmers are also already booked for large weekend markets, and weekday evenings can accommodate local working families looking to shop at a farmers’ market.
“She (Schwab) knows more about the end of the farm for this stuff, and we’ve run a deal before, so I know that end. So together we are going to give it a good try and hope to get it off the ground,” Majchrzak said.
Schwab said she has been working for some time to develop a co-operative community among independent farmers in the Richmond area, with the goal of reducing competitive spirit.
“Most of my relationships are just personal, just face-to-face with contacts I know to get the ball rolling,” Schwab said.
Independent farmers and artisans who sign up for the whole market pay $20 a week for a space of about 10 x 10, or $25 for a week at a time for the same space, Schwab said. Market participants must bring their own tables and related equipment for sales.
Majchrzak said the market is looking for agricultural participants who are as local as possible, especially those who live within 30 or 45 minutes of town.
A Facebook page for the market is also being prepared to seek out farmer and artisan participants for the market.
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Nicole Tuttle is a freelance journalist for MediaNews Group.