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Farmers market sales show growth, could reach last year’s total of $99,000

The Boyle County Farmers Market continues to thrive this summer because of the farmers’ hard work and strong community support despite the current pandemic challenges.

“We have more vendors this year. The market has grown steadily week by week the last two years,” said market manager and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jeff Jewel. “We average 20 or more vendors every week,” this season.

“People seem to be really happy with the market and are thrilled to be able to shop for healthy local food in a safe, outdoor environment,” Jewell said. “Our vendors are also really enjoying the market as well. Despite the challenges this year, sales are actually slightly up from last year.”

Jewel said market sales this season have ranged from a low of $2,246 on May 9, to a high of $6,228 on July 25.

The monthly sale averages increased steadily as well, he added: $3,989 in May; $4,655 in June; and $5,200 in July.

Jewel said even with COVID-19 restrictions including requiring shoppers and vendors to wear face masks, practicing social distancing, and adding hand sanitation stations, the market is “on track” to meet last year’s sales total of about $99,000.

He said as of July 31, total funds the market has brought in for the farmers and artists is just under $60,000, with seven more weeks to go. The market’s last regular season day will be Saturday, Oct. 10.

Average market attendance ran from a low of 175 in May to a high in July of 442. “It looks like our typical day since the market got into full swing is around 350-375,” Jewell said.

Not only do the farmers benefit financially from their own sales, their membership in the Boyle County Farmers Market, which in turn is a member of the Community Farm Alliance, supports the Double Dollars program.

Each participating market puts money into a fund which is then distributed back to them to support their own Double Dollars program. Low-income families and senior citizens can apply for vouchers at the Blue Grass Community Action Partnership to spend at the farmers market. The value of the vouchers can be doubled at the Double Dollars tent set up at the market. So in essence, the farmers themselves are helping to get healthy food to the people who really need it, said market volunteer Julie Pease.

Also, Boyle Fiscal Court and Chamber of Commerce are strong supporters of the farmers market, Jewell said. “Fiscal court has graciously donated the use of Constitution Square, and the chamber has donated office space, equipment and office supplies. All of which help make the market a community success, he added.