The Madison County Farmers’ Market closed for the season Saturday.
The last day of the regular season market featured the Cooperative Extension Test Kitchen’s field to table wild game preparation demonstration.
The 2018 season featured monthly presentations with master gardeners, food samples and a variety of family-friendly activities. The activities were designed to increase traffic to the weekly market. The Madison County Farmers’ Market benefited from a 2016 USDA grant designed to promote agritourism and local food. The Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission was one of 50 groups across the nation selected to receive the Farmers’ Market Promotion Grant. The commission has partnered with Culpeper Renaissance, the Madison County Farmer’s Market, and the Piedmont Environmental Council to use the three-year grant. The Madison County Farmers’ Market has been using its portion to advertise and increase the organization’s visibility.
Business was slow for the vendors at last Saturday’s market. Robin Rider of Rider’s Backfield Farm blamed the lack of traffic on the weather.
“Everyone seems to have rain fatigue,” said Rider. “We’ve had so much rain this year it has really affected everyone’s crops. Some of our regular vendors are done for the season and people are tired of coming out in the rain. Overall though business has been pretty good.”
Margaret Hutchinson, president of the Madison County Farmers’ Market, was pleased with the 2018 season.
“This year we had several new vendors and tried some new activities,” said Hutchinson. “We have had some weather challenges but all-in-all 2018 has been a success.”
The Madison County Farmers’ Market is a not-for-profit member association that was organized in 2008 by Madison County Extension Agent Brad Jarvis. The market is for producers only and each seller must grow or produce at least 75 percent of what they sell. Unlike most other local markets, the Madison County Farmers’ Market strictly prohibits peddlers and distributors. The vendors are all local, mostly from Madison County, and most produce all of what they sell. The market is now governed by a board selected by voting members of the farmers’ market.
The farmers’ market partners with the Madison Literacy Council to put on two holiday markets. This year the Perfectly Piedmont Expo and Holiday Markets will be held Nov. 17 and Dec. 15. Both markets will be held at the Madison County Volunteer Fire Company from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.