Farmers Market opens Saturday under new pavilion
It will be a while before we see homegrown tomatoes and half-runner green beans, but visitors to opening day of the 2022 Winchester-Clark County Farmers Market may find flowers, strawberries, early vegetables, and a variety of finished products, from bread to wine.
This Saturday, May 15, vendors will open the market under the long-anticipated new pavilion on Depot Street.
This year’s market president, Seth Boyken of Creative Coffees Roastery, is impressed by the new half-million-dollar canopy and the old Sphar & Co. silos that were sandblasted and painted to pay tribute to the former hemp, tobacco, and grain warehouse that stood near the train tracks.
“It’s a big change for sure,” he said. “I’m very excited about all this coming around. Hopefully, we’re moving into big things for Winchester.”
The farmers market pavilion and silos off North Main Street are part of a downtown revitalization that also includes the repaving of the brick Depot Street and renovation of several 19th-century buildings on Main.
Stefan Fink of Fink Meats, a longtime member of the market, said the canopy structure cost $566,000 and was paid for by the Farmers Market, the City of Winchester, the Greater Clark Foundation, and the Clark County and Kentucky agricultural development boards. The silos, with a price tag of $135,000, were made possible by funding from the city government, Main Street Winchester, and the Farmers Market.
“The new structure gives the farmers market a permanent location in a historic part of downtown Winchester,” Fink said. “The team tried to mimic the old train depot into a functional structure for the market.”
The structure, he said, will protect vendors and customers from the weather.
Boyken, who also started The Backcountry Baking Company, said the market experienced a slight decline because of the coronavirus pandemic over the past couple of years, but most of the longtime vendors are returning this year, along with some new ones.
“Right now, it’s looking like we could have almost 25 percent of our vendors new this year,” he said. “We’ll have quite a few more vegetable vendors.”
Molly Stotts of My Father’s Garden said she’ll be there Saturday with strawberries, honey, sourdough and whole wheat breads, croissants and sweet rolls, egg burritos, beeswax candles, batiks, wax wraps, and calendula lotion bars.
One of the new vendors, Kevin Parido of Shepherd’s Forge, will be making hand-forged kitchen knives.
Boyken said the market usually draws about 100 people an hour and 600 or more for special events, such as Kids Day on Aug. 20 and a Veggie Fest the market is working on with the Clark County Health Department.
There will also be a Farm-to-Table Dinner, probably the last Saturday in September.
It’s possible there will also be some night markets on Tuesdays.
Opening day will include a grand opening ceremony. The market will be open from 8 a.m. to noon.