Martinsburg Farmers Market Manager James Hersick is an advocate for all local markets, and he believes the intention behind the Martinsburg endeavor is what makes it unique.
“That intention includes creating healthier people and a healthier economy downtown,” he asserted. “The market grew out of a desire to build community and increase access to fresh healthy foods in what is essentially a food desert surrounded by an amazing agricultural heritage.”
Boasting up to ten vendors weekly that sell everything from fresh fruits and veggies to pasture-raised beef, chicken, and pork, the market is a collaboration of several community organizations, and for most of the season, coincides with the “Fridays at Five” concert series that Main Street Martinsburg provides for the community.
Also providing popcorn, baked goods, soaps, lotions, plants, jellies, honey, and more, this is only the second season for the market. A hit from the start, everyone involved, from participants to the community at large, are motivated to watch it grow and evolve. To that end, Hersick is involved with several organizations that consider themselves proud partners of the Martinsburg Market—advocating for fresh, healthy eating: Healthy Berkeley, The Burke Street Promise Neighborhood Initiative, Main Street Martinsburg, and WV FresHealthy Bucks.
“Even though we only had a ten-week market (last year), we were really inspired by the support the market received,” he added. “This year, we’ve nearly doubled our number of vendors, and extended the season. Hopefully the community awareness and support for the market will grow in a similar fashion.”
Hersick encourages the entire Panhandle to come out and enjoy it. “I’m just glad to be able to play my part in building our community. It’s what farmers markets really mean to me—places where folks from all walks of life come together to support our local producers. Being able to facilitate that idea, and help it to grow, is very fulfilling.”
The Martinsburg Farmers Market takes place on King Street, Martinsburg Town Square, every Friday, from 4:30-7:30pm, through September 1st.
For more information, find Martinsburg Farmers Market on Facebook.By Lena Camilletti