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Good beginning for downtown market; more produce to come

Jun 8, 2012 - By Emily Etheredge, Staff Writer

Organizers of the downtown farmers market are pleased with how things are going. Market coordinator Sherry Shelley said turnout for the weekly event has been better than expected, and she hopes to see more people bustling around as more produce becomes available in coming weeks.

"We are still learning and figuring out how to make the market the best it can be," Shelley said. "I have more inquiries each week from people interested in being a vendor, and I believe as more produce becomes available, we will continue to see more people show an interest in selling."

The weekly market is 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday on North Broadway Avenue off Main Street.

The market is put on by a non-profit group in Riverton called Fremont Local Foods that wants to build a community of people interested in buying fresh food for their families.

Shelley said produce sells out quickly because of the high demand.

"We had a vendor selling asparagus last night, and he sold out in 20 minutes," Shelley said. "Everyone is very eager to have fresh produce to buy, and we are working hard to build up a supply."

Some of the high demand items include asparagus, spinach, mushrooms and lettuce.

"Egg sellers are currently able to bring enough eggs to last until 6:30 p.m., and our meat products are fully stocked to be able to span the length of time the market is open," Shelley said.

Shelley said live music and children's activities will continue throughout the summer. Shelley has also worked with R-Recreation to organize a sidewalk decorating contest during market hours June 20 along Main Street.

"It really is a wonderful thing to see people coming together as a community and running into people they haven't seen in a while as they buy fresh food from local farmers," Shelley said.

Anyone interested in being a vendor is required to pay $7 for one night or $20 for four weeks. Shelley said that at first, vendors signed up for only a week, because they were unsure how the market would go. The vendors returned the second week and gave $20 for a month.

Shelley said the most requested item that has yet to make an appearance at the market is rhubarb.

"I think people who have it think it is a weed," Shelley said. "It is a perennial fruit that has a lot of use in pies, jams and salads, and a lot of people have been asking me when we will have fresh rhubarb available."

Shelley said several people have asked her about weather affecting the market, and she said she would like everyone to know the market will still be open even in the event of rain.

"If it rains vendors are welcome to bring a canopy to shield them from the rain, and customers can bring an umbrella," Shelley said.

Shelley said she hopes the market will continue to bring more people downtown. She said she has noticed an increase in downtown shoppers since the market opened May 16.

"I have heard several people mentioning that they came to the market to buy their produce, and then ended up visiting some of the stores downtown, which is exactly what we wanted to accomplish," Shelley said.

Those interested in becoming a vendor can call Sherry Shelley at 851-7162.

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