With the growing season under way, MainStreet Roswell’s Farmers and Gardeners Market is back and better than ever.
The market, which began last week, will be held each Saturday from 7 to 11 a.m. through the end of September on the Courthouse lawn on Main Street between Fifth and Sixth streets, offering attendees homegrown fruits and vegetables, crafts, recipes, nutritional information and grilling demonstrations.
More than 25 local vendors assembled Saturday for the season’s first market, a strong showing that MainStreet Roswell Director Dusty Huckabee said is a sign of good things to come this summer.
“It’s just been going strong and growing every year,” Huckabee said. “We had a ton of people out there last Saturday.
“… When I first got into Main Street business, the old timers would say that they’d come to [auth] town and get their haircut, do their grocery shopping and then go to the Courthouse lawn and visit with friends. Well, for a while that just kind of died away. But now, we’re seeing it all come back.”
MainStreet Roswell’s on-site grilling offers a chance for people to learn how to grill fresh vegetables, with demonstrations currently provided by the Department of Health’s Women, Infants, Children program. Carrie Weems, nutritionist supervisor with the Department of Health, said WIC has been working with the Farmers Market for five years to help supply residents with the information they need to eat healthier.
“Working with WIC, we see a lot of nutrient deficiencies, especially in the fruits and vegetables,” Weems said. “They’re more expensive, so a lot of people tend to buy more junk food than healthy food. A lot of people don’t know how to cook or how easy it can be. So we’re just out there showing how simple you can grill and have something delicious come out of it!”
Lester Peck, market manager, said delicious fresh fruits and vegetables at a reasonable price is only part of what makes the market so beneficial to residents. “First of all, it gives a basis for good nutrition to all of the citizens. There are a lot of things that are attractive about it. People have fun down there, and it’s a good outlet for all the vendors we have, too.
“Everything is strictly local — (the food) can’t be from out of state, and it can’t be re-sale. … There will be anything that you would grow if you had a home garden: onions, squash, tomatoes, turnips, beets, lettuces of all kinds; later on we’ll have watermelon.
“But the big thing is absolute freshness of the vegetables and fruits. It’s homegrown. You’re not buying something that was picked two weeks ago and transported to the grocery store, so there’s a big difference there.”
Huckabee said the Farmers Market is one of those rare events where everything is positive, pointing out how WIC and The Salvation Army provide Farmers Market vouchers to seniors, low income families and single mothers. “We take senior citizen stamps and WIC coupons, which helps out the community. They’re all on real tight budgets, so these coupons make a difference. It’s a big part of our market.”
For more information about the Farmers Market, contact Peck at 627-2239.