AP NEWS
Click to copy
Click to copy

Somerset County Farmers’ Market returns this Saturday

MATT CHURELLA Daily American CorrespondentMay 23, 2019

The Somerset County Farmers’ Market will reopen for its 14th season Saturday with live acoustic music and about 23 vendors, including two new bakers and a cut flower grower. Located behind Georgian Place near Somerset Lake, the seasonal market offers a unique exchange between consumer and producer.

Market manager Carol Pyle said consumers are unable to receive direct answers about how the produce they buy at big-box stores was grown.

“But you can whenever you’re looking across the table and you’re talking to your local farmer,” she said.

Todd Wetzel, president of the market’s board of directors, said the market allows farmers to sell their products locally rather than to a third-party vendor. He also said it’s a producer-only market, which means every item was made or grown by the person selling it.

“I don’t grow enough of any one thing to be able to sell it to a third party like a store,” he said. “On the other end, this allows the Somerset resident to be able to buy fresher and direct from me. Being that there’s no middleman, they can fire any question they want at me.”

He said consumers will find produce from the entire growing season on the market’s tables this year. Some farmers are using covered growing spaces called hoop houses to make summer favorites available earlier.

“In addition to the changing spectrum of produce is the regularly appearing menu of bread, cookies, cinnamon rolls, sausage, beef, lamb, chicken, jams, jellies and maple syrup, just to name a few,” he wrote in a press release.

With several vendors sharing the same market, Wetzel said there is still competition among farmers.

“If I grow something that you don’t, maybe we can please a wide variety of customers,” he said. “We certainly set our own prices and run our own businesses within that.”

Wetzel said the farmers’ market is to feature live music about five times throughout the season. He said the market will host several community groups, too.

“For many years, visitors have found the friendly faces of 4-H and Somerset’s Master Gardeners offering advice and informational displays on everything from compost and soil management to fall decoration ideas,” he wrote.

The Somerset County Farmers’ Market is open from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays only. The season lasts 27 weeks, ending the week before Thanksgiving.

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.