The Main Street Portsmouth’s (MSP) was proud to announce that this season’s opening day was unlike any other. The Farmer’s Market opened the season Saturday with a group of eager vendors and patrons.
“We had a record breaking opening day,” MSP Executive Director Joseph Pratt stated.
567 guests of all ages enjoyed the variety of local-made items from 16 vendors.
“That’s the most we’ve had at an opening,” Pratt confirmed.
Vendors offered everything from local art and jewlery to local grown and processed foods.
“We have a lot of rules, but basicall you have to be a cottage industry merchant to participate as a vendor,” Pratt explained. “So, you have to make it (goods for sale) at home, or you have to grow it at home. You can’t buy it.”
The director continued by explaining that on the first day, the market offered pottery, candles, art, bath bombs, flowers, breads and baked goods, fresh meats and a large variety of garden greens.
“We had a variety of everything, and it was all made here locally in Portsmouth or in the county,” Pratt commented.
MSP first started more than 10 years ago. The Farmer’s Market came along just two years later and is one of the organization’s longest lasting events. Through the Farmer’s Market, local merchants have an opportunity to sell their goods to the community.
“They don’t have storefronts,” Pratt said. “So, this offers a vehicle for that.”
Equally important, however, the Farmer’s Market provides an opportunity to buy healthy, locally grown, fresh food items.
“You what’s in the food because you get to meet the person who made it,” said Pratt.
He also explained that the patrons and merchants get to develop a relationship, growing a strong sense of community.
The Farmer’s Market also works to encourage children to make healthier eating habits through the Healthy Bucks Program, a joint effort made by MSP and the Scioto County Health Coalition. Healthy Bucks provides $5 to children visiting the Farmer’s Market, with which these kids can buy their own fresh food items.
“This is the only time of year, you see kids excited and waving carrots in the air,” Pratt stated.
Stephanie Wright, organizer of the Healthy Bucks Program, explained that this year, MSP held off starting the program for one month, so there were no Healthy Bucks Saturday. Instead, MSP offered activities that allowed children to win outdoor toys such as balls, bats and hula hoops. Wright explained that toys were chosen that would challenge kids to get outside and stay active. Still, MSP is excited to bring back the Healthy Bucks Program this season.
“We do have kids that get very excited about eating fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and eggs,” Wright stated. “That is the healthiest way to eat.”
She continued by stating that eating local, fresh foods reduces allergies and chances of developing diabetes.
“We’re really looking forward to starting the program again and getting Healthy Bucks rolling full steam ahead,” Wright commented.
The MSP Farmer’s Market is from 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday through September at the Roy Rogers Esplanade on the corner of Gallia and Chillicothe streets in Portsmouth. For more information or for vendor rules and guildelines, visit mspohio.org or find MSP on Facebook.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.