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B-U Farmers Market, Create Buckhannon partnering to boost local produce sales online; also, there’s still time to sign up as a vendor

BUCKHANNON – The Buckhannon-Upshur Farmers Market will offer online ordering through a collaboration with Create Buckhannon.

Buckhannon-Upshur Farmers Market President Donnie Tenney said the market will commence at Jawbone Park June 4 and will continue through October on Fridays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Create Buckhannon member Katie Loudin said she hopes the online avenue will benefit farmers and those looking for fresh, locally grown produce.

“I came to know about the Turnrow Appalachian Farm Collective, which basically started this online ordering process at these pop-up markets when COVID hit last year, and they’re really more prevalent across the southern part of the state,” Loudin said. “I just liked the ease of the website, and how it gave people access to West Virginia-grown products in a really easy way.”

Loudin said the website she was inspired by wasn’t available in Buckhannon, so she and Michael Ruffing with Problem Solver’s Marketing came up with another solution.

“I was trying to figure out the mechanism by which we could do this the correct way, so I was talking to [Ruffing], and he said we could actually do this Facebook store, so we don’t have to build a whole website,” Loudin said. “We can build a Facebook store and whatever the farmers have available, week to week, we can change the inventory on the Facebook store.”

Loudin said patrons will be able to order items in advance and pick them up during regular farmers market hours.

“We’re very much treating this like a pilot, so I don’t want to over-promise and under-deliver, so for first week of June, if anyone thinks that they’re going to buy their entire weeks’ worth of groceries at the farmers market through this process, we’re not going to be there yet,” Loudin said. “My hope is to start building momentum, figure out the processes, we start to streamline the communications, and eventually the system will become more robust.”

Any updates on the Facebook store will be posted on the Create Buckhannon Facebook page, but Tenney said the market will feature a wide variety of produce.

“They’ll be able to find different types of squash, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, microgreens, sweet corn – pretty much everything that can be grown in this area,” Tenney said. “We’ll have a wide selection of beans, we’ve got the super sweet peas and then we have some of those peas that have flat pod design for stir fry, carrots and lettuce – a little bit of everything.”

Tenney said he was excited to see the new online ordering system take form, and he hopes people take advantage of the market.

“There’s a lot of people that would rather buy local produce because it’s fresh here and they’re helping to support the local economy,” Tenney said. “In order to compete with Kroger and Walmart, we have to make it convenient for people that want to be able to drive to the Farmers Market, swing by, pick up their order and go home. I think this method should help us increase sales, and traditionally, as a grower, when you go to the farmers market, you don’t know how much you’ll be able to sell, so we’ll at least know certain amount is definitely going to be sold.”

If you’re a grower who wants to sign up for the market, there’s still time. Simply visit the Upshur County Extension office at 91 West Main St. Suite 102 and fill out a registration form and secure a permit for a $25 fee. For more information, call 304-613-3006.

Follow the Farmers Market and Create Buckhannon Facebook pages for the latest market updates.

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