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Hagerstown's Market Faire allows locavores another opportunity to shop

June 09, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER | kate.alexander@herald-mail.com
  • Barbara and Monty Mumma buy fresh vegetables from Donna Litton at the Market Faire held on Thursday in the Elizabeth Hager Parking lot in downtown Hagerstown. The event is planned to take place every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3pm.
By Yvette May, Staff Photographer

Locavores in Hagerstown can now enjoy fresh fruits and veggies a few days earlier each week.

The city Thursday opened the first Market Faire as an outdoor supplement to its Saturday indoor Farmers Market. It will be held weekly in downtown Hagerstown.

Eight vendors from across the area set up tables of fresh fruits, veggies, greens, jams and products in the parking lot adjacent to the Elizabeth Hager Center.

About 200 people came Thursday to browse and buy what vendors had to offer, Market Coordinator Gaela Shoop said.

"For our very first time, to be making history, it was a good showing," she said.

"This is going to be a great market," said Dave Elliott, of Blue Mountain Farms in Hedgesville, W.Va.

Elliott, who sells produce regularly at other markets in the region, said the location, time and accessibility make the right combination for Market Faire to succeed.

"It's got all the ingredients, all the elements of a good market," he said, even though he noted that asphalt is not the ideal place to sell produce.

Despite scorching 95-degree heat radiating off the hot pavement Thursday, Shoop said she got her wish for sunshine, happy people and a great turnout.

It can be hard to gauge how a community will receive a new market, she said.

For vendors, it can be just as hard to gauge just how much produce to bring, but Elliott said he sold out most of his products by 2 p.m.

Beverly Bingaman, who sold produce, plants and flowers for Bingaman's Greenhouse in Greencastle, Pa., called the event, "an excellent day."

The faire went from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Shoop said. But with most vendors set up by 10:30 a.m., customers got an extra half hour to shop, she said.

Both Bingaman and Elliott encouraged people to make Market Faire a regular stop because produce will change with the seasons.

"As the seasons go on, we will have more varieties to sell and more opportunities to get fresh produce to the people who live and work in Hagerstown," Bingaman said.

Shoop said Market Faire is a transformed Market in the Square, which in past years had dwindled to a less frequent event.

Locavores — or people who shop for locally produced food — look for consistency in a market, Shoop said.

They like knowing that the market will be the same time, in the same place, every week.

Unless the weather gets extreme, she said people can expect the city center lot to become an open market each Thursday between now and the end of September.

"And hopefully even longer," she said.

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