VIENNA — Parkersburg resident Terry Smith made his first visit last week to a farmers market sponsored by Community Resources Inc.
He expects to be back again Thursday, because the tomatoes and zucchini he bought won’t last long once he shares them with his wife and great-granddaughters.
“This’ll be gone by tomorrow,” he said with a laugh.
Started with a focus on providing nutritious food to senior citizens, the market has returned this year from 3-6 p.m. Thursdays at 601 Grand Plaza between Grand Central Mall and Walmart in Vienna with an emphasis on getting children to eat fresh, West Virginia-grown produce.
“The goal is to get the kids to eat and get them involved in what they’re eating,” said Melissa Ogden, operations director for Community Resources.
When the market opened June 17, children could receive a reusable produce bag. The second week, they offered a book to hold recipes which will be given out by the West Virginia University Extension each week to provide ways to use the products that can be bought at the market.
This week, children can receive a “seed bomb” to toss out and plant flowers in honor of the Fourth of July.
If someone brings a child to the market, “if they buy $5 worth, they get $10 worth of produce free,” Ogden said.
The added focus on children is due to a grant from the Henry Logan Foundation that is making this year’s market possible. The PM Company donated the space along Grand Central Avenue, just as they did last year.
Ogden said she’s already seen a few regulars from last year the first two weeks of this year’s market.
The produce comes from Rt. 18 Farm Market at Troy in Gilmer County. Owner Jerry Brake said he’s worked with Community Resources for several years.
“We grow everything we sell,” he said.
The market accepts cash, credit and debit cards, as well as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.
In addition to the fresh produce for sale, WVU Extension offers free tastings and a different community partner organization will be present each week. Most recently, it was Habitat for Humanity and the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department’s Women, Infant and Children program.
The market will set up every Thursday through Oct. 7, and Ogden hopes to see it return next year, provided there’s grant funding available.
Evan Bevins can be reached at [email protected]