WAYNESBURG – It may be only six hours a week, but new Waynesburg Farmers’ Market manager Julia Young thinks she’s found the perfect job, at least until October.
If you are going to the market to shop today from the early bird minutes before 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., you can find her, either at her pop-up tent at the corner of High and Church streets or out and about, clipboard in hand, meeting, greeting and doing her new job.
“I love farmers’ markets because I love knowing where my food comes from,” Young said, all smiles as she made the rounds of the regular vendors, admiring the baked goods, homemade lotions and potions and tables filled with a bumper crop of produce – corn, eggplants, green beans, peaches, tomatoes, peppers, squash and more, all waiting to be taken home by the bag or the bushel to be canned, frozen or eaten fresh.
“When I started this job in July, I had friends who wanted to eat healthier and we made a pact to change our diets,” said Young. “Before I started, I had fibromyalgia and there were days when I could hardly move. I don’t have that any more. I’ve been a vegetarian for four months now. I’m eating more vegetables, nuts and seeds and feel great. When you buy local, you know where it came from and you meet the people who grow it. Look at who’s shopping here today, and who’s selling. We represent every part of the local economy.”
This little market, tucked into Church Street beside Greene County Courthouse, is just what the doctor ordered for the many office workers who can now buy a sandwich or snack at the market, share a picnic table on the courthouse lawn with friends and co-workers, then go back to work with bags full of fresh healthy food.
“One of the things I’ve been doing is going to businesses and delivering produce to workers who can’t get away while the market is open,” Young said. On Rain Day, she set up a booth for Waynesburg Prosperous and Beautiful and promoted not only the market but the other programs this umbrella organization of Waynesburg business owners, the county tourism office and Waynesburg University do to promote the “By Local Buy Greene” initiative.
“I was giving out our promotional bags but in order to get one, people had to sign a pledge to shop locally,” Young said. “I also got five different vendors who are interested in selling probiotic teas, eggs, cut flowers and jellies and jams. Since it’s past our July sign up, I’ve been talking to our regular vendors to get them approved. Selling at the market is a good first step for those wanting to start a home business. Contact me on Wednesdays if you’re interested and tell me what you have to offer and I’ll tell you what you need to do.”
At today’s market, there is the special treat of homemade sauces, meatballs and pastas from Bill Fontana of Callifonte Foods, who drives more than 80 miles from Vandergrift every first Wednesday of the month with his freezer truck full of Italian food.
“I love their meatballs. You can really tell they’re homemade and they’re big enough to make a meatball sandwich,” Career Link worker Kimberly Mowls said. “I try to stock up and Bill always calls me with his specials. Today, it’s bags of ravioli, two for $10 and wheat and regular gnocchi and cheese tortellini two for $5. If you haven’t tried the roasted red pepper sauce, you don’t know what you’re missing.”
Rachel Miller of Autumn’s Boutique has whipped up a summer soother, thanks to the abundant goats milk she is now able to buy from a local farmer. “I have a whole fresh line of goats’ milk lotion – honey oats, mango papaya and lavender chamomile. Some of my customers can’t make it to Waynesburg on Wednesday, so I tell them to come to the Greensboro Farmers Market on Saturday. They always have kid’s activities and something to do with art. It’s almost like going to a little festival and it’s beautiful on the river. I’ve been selling lots of my plants there.”
The Greensboro Farmers Market is 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Saturday until mid-October in Gazebo Park. To be included in its weekly information email blast that tells what musicians will be playing, what art classes are being offered and what the vendors have for sale, call Darlene Urban Garrett at 724-358-2086 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To be included in the Waynesburg market email blast that goes out bright and early every Wednesday morning, call the county tourism office at 724-627-8687 or talk to Julia Young on market day.