The Shepherdstown Farmers Market takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Sunday from late March through December. The market is located on South King Street, downtown, directly behind the Shepherdstown library. It became an organized event with a formal committee three years ago but has been taking place for over 30 years, making it the longest running farmers market in West Virginia.
There are 16 vendors that are a part of the market, selling a wide variety of products from flowers and vegetables to honey and fresh baked goods. The vendors include; Blue Mountain Farm, Coal House Forge, Cotton of Herbs, Cutler Tigh Farms, Meghan Webber Flowers, Middleway Farm, Peace in the Valley Herb Farm, Presto Dinners, Red Hawk Rise Organics, Red House Fram, Rivas Salsas, Rooster Dirt Farm, Shade’s Farm, Shepherd’s Whey Creamery, Sister Moon Farm, and Stone Heart Bakery.
All the vendors are local farms and businesses selling their homemade and homegrown products. Along with a wide range of vendors the market often hosts live local musicians.
Benefitting the Community Through SNAPS Program:
Recently, the Shepherdstown Farmers Market partnered with the USDA to provide them and their vendors with the necessary equipment to accept the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This was formerly known as the Foods Stamps Programs which helps low-income Americans purchase food.
They can purchase the food with an electronic benefits transfer card (ETB card). It works like a debit card, and they are given to the participants each month. In 2017 it was calculated that participants spent more than $22.4 million at farmers markets nationwide.
Market Association President, Natalie Friend, said “recipients can swipe their SNAP card and double their money at the Shepherdstown Farmers Market.” The Shepherdstown Farmers Market’s official website states that this program matches the participants SNAP dollar for dollar, then they also give them a matching amount in “market bucks.” These “market bucks” are good for fruits and vegetables which encourages SNAP participants to purchase more fruits and vegetables. This program not only benefits the participant, but it also benefits the local businesses that provide produce at the market.
Bringing Business to the Local Economy:
All the vendors at the market are local farmers and businesses, meaning all the money made at the market supports these local businesses and the local economy. Anna L. Alonzo, an Agricultural Marketing Services Administrator in Food and Nutrition/Farming within the USDA, said “When food is produced, processed, distributed and sold all within the same region, more money stays in the local economy.”
The farmers market provides local farmers with the opportunity to sell their produce to customers face-to-face. This can help them create a customer base while bringing in money. It also gives this business the opportunity to advertise their products.
For example, Shepherdstown resident and Shepherd University Student, Krystian Hammaker, said “I usually purchase food from the different stands, and they were always really good and fresh.” She said she talks to her family and friends frequently about the different vendors and has sought out the business and farms to purchase products throughout the week.
All the vendors are listed on the which is an advertisement in and of itself. The website also allows customers to order products from there, further supporting the farms and businesses.
The farmer’s market is widely advertised on multiple social media platforms and pages, and it tends to attract both residents of Shepherdstown and tourists.
Krystian Hammaker, said “I go to the farmers market usually once a month or sometimes more.” In addition, Patty Byers is a resident of Clear Spring, Maryland, and said, “we travel to Shepherdstown quite frequently to go to the farmers market and other stores and restaurants.”
Not only does the farmers market bring business to its vendors, it also brings business to shops and eateries on German Street. There are many eateries and shops along German Street that are also opened during the hours the farmers market is running. The patrons of the market often visit these other businesses before, during, or after attending the market. Shepherd University Student Abbi Lewis said that after she visits the market, she “loves to go to the Shepherdstown Sweet Shop.”
There is a lot of cross business between the market patrons and other establishments on German street. Four Seasons Books is a bookstore located on German Street, near where the market is located. The owner, Kendra Goldsborough, said she “absolutely” noticed an increase in business during the farmers market operating hours. She said, “we actually adjusted our business hours to coincide with the farmers market.”
The Shepherdstown Sweet Shop is another business located on German Street that sits directly next to, and slightly in front of the farmers market. Employee Katlyn said, “We are insanely busy during the farmers market hours. It is our busiest day of the week we Both businesses said they experienced a noticeable influx of business during the farmers market operation hours. Shepherdstown residents Krystian Hammaker said, “every Sunday is always crazy busy on German street during farmers market hours.”
Kendra Goldsborough also said, the farmers market “is absolutely vital to the community and its economy. It brings money into the community and keeps it circling within the community itself.”
For more information about the Shepherdstown Farmers Market and its vendors visit https://www.shepherdstownfarmersmarketwv.com/