Western Pennsylvania, despite appearances, has not cornered the market on farmers markets. They are a national phenomenon, popular just about everywhere. Yet these weekly community gatherings of vendors and customers continue to increase in number throughout the region.
Canonsburg is rejoining the trend. The farmers market was a borough staple until the early 2000s, when it was discontinued. But after the lengthy hiatus that existed since, the market will return May 5 and continue every Friday into mid-September, from 3:30 to 7 p.m. in the Northwest Savings Bank parking lot on West Pike Street.
Kudos to the borough and the Greater Canonsburg Chamber of Commerce for resurrecting this event, which not only can tighten the social bond but energize a community that is still smarting from the slaying of police officer Scott Bashioum five months ago. A farmers market also is a boost to the farmers and other vendors and to the patrons seeking fresh produce, meats, flowers, desserts and many other items. It is a buyers market and a sellers market at the same time.
“Our goal,” Mayor Dave Rhome told the Observer-Reporter’s Natalie Reid Miller, “is to promote commerce, promote camaraderie and support the farmers and small businesses.”
More than 14 vendors are on board, including Simmons Farm and Gyro Place. Tables will be in place for those dining or noshing, and vendors will have assistants helping shoppers carry items to their vehicles.
Canonsburg has two high-profile events – the Fourth of July and Oktoberfest celebrations – around which the community can rally. Those are annual occurrences, however. A farmers market that would ostensibly bring townspeople together every week over four months can only enhance civic unity.
And by attracting patrons, the market also could help boost the borough’s small businesses. As Lonnie Flood, one of the farmers market organizers, put it: “We’re trying to make it a real family environment where people can hang out. Then they may want to take a walk through town and try a restaurant or shop at the furniture store.”
Rhome said several people have been working for years to resurrect the farmers market in Canonsburg. They are now realizing the fruits of their labors – literally and figuratively.
There, of course, are other weekly markets nearby. The well-established and well-attended Original Farmers Market operates a few miles north, off Route 50 in Cecil Township, and on Friday evenings.
But this is Western Pennsylvania, where farmers markets abound – and where Canonsburg, to its credit, is bringing one back.