Farmers Market helping to grow a community

May 29, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER
  • Master Gardener Chris Mayer, right, helps Alice Elia, left, of Chambersburg, Pa., pick out plants Saturday during the first North Square Farmers Market of 2010.
By Kate S. Alexander,

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Less than a block north of Chambersburg's square, about 100 people milled about a parking lot Saturday morning, talking of the weather, saying hello to friends and filling bags with fresh produce.

"This is what living in a small town is about," said Theresa Bachman of Chambersburg as she carefully placed a ripe tomato in her bag.

The North Square Farmers Market has popped up on the lot between Wogan's Uniform Shop and BI Designs for two summers now to sell local produce, meat, cheese and art.

Saturday marked the start of the new season for the market, said Market Coordinator Karen Latsbaugh.

If the steady stream of shoppers was any indication, it should be a good year, Latsbaugh said.

Farmers and artists from across Pennsylvania and Maryland come to sell the flavors of summer at the weekly open-air market, which is a non-profit organization run by a committee of three in Chambersburg, she said.


Open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through October, the market has just begun to come into its own, Latsbaugh said.

"When I think about it, to me this is more than just a come-buy-produce-and-leave market," she said. "It is a place to come visit with the vendors and your friends, to take your time and slow down."

A mix of increased advertising, some fresh branding and a blitz of Facebook and e-mail have started spreading word of the market through the community, she said.

A few times Saturday morning, Latsbaugh paused to say hello to a familiar face, yet she noticed there were many more faces she had not seen there before, she said.

A market like the North Square Farmers Market is a way for people to meet the men, women and families who grow their food, she said.

Daryl Diller, of Country Lane Produce in Doylesburg, Pa., has been part of the market for the last few years.

Developing that relationship between customer and farmer is what makes the market unique, he said.

"I enjoy seeing the people who are back year after year," he said. "They start out coming for one tomato, then the next time they buy three."

Some repeat shoppers have found favorites at the market, others were discovering the options for the first time, he said.

A few of the vendors were new and hopefully more will come out during the season, Latsbaugh said.

For Latsbaugh, it is the sense of community that she loves most about the market.

"I love the idea of growing a community," she said.

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