Changes set for a Downtown Farmers Market
As Florence flourishes, the city is repositioning its downtown farmers market for a big change this spring. Starting on Saturday, April 23, the former Wednesday afternoon Downtown Farmers Market will join forces with the longstanding Saturday morning Ovis Hill Farmers Market. This new, consolidated City Center Farmers Market will be located at 369 W. Cheves Street from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. and will be open rain or shine each week at least through October.
Between McQueen and Coit streets, the market location is accessible from both Cheves Street and 324 W. Evans Street. The new location and morning time provide a family-friendly atmosphere, convenient parking, and an opportunity to meet local farmers and artisans as well as fellow foodies. Organizers expect that Saturdays will attract more vendors and become a popular shopping and gathering spot within walking distance for many people.
The move to Saturday morning is significant. This year, as in the past, all vendors will be under tents. Over the long term, Florence City officials plan to encourage a year-round market with permanent public space and to establish a more substantial food production corridor in the downtown. City administrator Drew Griffin said, “This is another step toward revitalizing downtown Florence.
The farmers market is an essential element of our strategy.” Local farmers markets provide a great opportunity for residents in building local food economies and local farms; in other words, supporting thriving urban centers in combination with thriving rural areas. Eating locally-grown fruits and vegetables in season has community, environmental, and health benefits. The profits stay local.
Reduced transportation uses less fuel. The produce has a shorter time from field to consumer, allowing more time to ripen and gain flavor and nutrients. Also, growers can find a market for more perishable but delicious old-fashioned varieties of fruits and vegetables and for baked goods without preservatives. “All claims of virtuousness aside,” market organizer Jennie Pezé said, “a farmers market is just fun to go to. It’s like a treasure hunt!”