The Woodford County Farmers’ Market opened in Midway on Monday, and the number of vendors is expected to grow as the season extends.
All the vendors of vegetables, plants, and baked items are part of Kentucky Proud, which is the official marketing program for in-state agricultural products. Vendors who participate in the market cannot resell items they bought from somewhere else.
“You have to grow it or produce it yourself,” Hutcherson Family Farm Produce owner Susan Hutcherson said while selling vegetables at the market on May 4. The other vendors on opening day were Be Good to Yourself: Baked Goods and Produce; Highland Moor, a nursery; and Bluegrass Aquaponics, a vegetable monger.
The market operates Monday from 3 to 6 p.m. on East Main Street in Midway; Wednesday, starting June 3, from 3 to 6 p.m. at Versailles Presbyterian Church; and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon in downtown Versailles at the courthouse.
The market has a Facebook page that lists what is being sold each week is posted, along with pictures. Five board members oversee the market, which is managed by the Woodford County Cooperative Extension Service.
|Root crops from Hutcherson Family Farm Produce|
On her 20-acre farm, she grows tomatoes, corn, watermelons, cantaloupes and other items watered from the bottom up. She will soon start having strawberries, which only last about a month. “Last year I started having strawberries May 17th, so this year I think we’re on target,” she said. “We always have them during the Memorial [Day] weekend and usually a couple weeks before.”
Hutcherson said she likes to grow vegetables because it’s “mainly what we like to eat.”
|A basket from Be Good to Yourself: Baked Goods and Produce|
She and her husband, Bob Sandrock, started their business in 2005, when they got the idea from their daughter, who wanted to sell jewelry to give money to the Woodford Humane Society. Sandrock said she sold a few things from her garden and baking, and went from there.
She grows raspberries, tart cherries, blackberries, apples and some strawberries in Versailles, and and hopes to get a “couple or so acres” someday.
Sandrock said she enjoys baking because “It’s kind of relaxing, actually, if you’re by yourself and just putting different ways to either cook or bake. It’s creative. It could be an outlet. It’s a fun stress reliever.”
|Flowers and plants from Highland Moor nursery|
McNeil said he has been working with plants for 60 years, and grows vegetables “just to have more product during July and August when plants don’t move during those months.”
The seeding for cabbage and broccoli starts in late February. Other vegetable and flower seedings are weekly, which starts April 1 and ends in July.
McNeil grows different varieties of hydrangea, bearded iris, stone crop and butterfly bush. “Our specialty is hydrangea from the plant standpoint, but we also have a number of Kentucky natives,” McNeil said. “That makes us unique compared to other production nursery in the area.”
|Lettuce from Bluegrass Aquaponics|
Ginter said she also has market hours on her farm on Thursdays and Saturdays: “I want to be local for the local people.”
Ginter grows 10 varieties of lettuce, kale, cucumbers, herbs, eggplant, and 18 different varieties of tomatoes, which are experimental.
Aquaponics raises fish and vegetables in one circulating system. Everything is grown on water or in water, in a greenhouse, with no fertilizer, said Ginter.
“If you just do fish, you have to get rid of the waste, and if you just do vegetables, you have to fertilize them,” Ginter said. With aquaponics, “You’re able to make the waste have a job, and then you don’t have to fertilize your vegetables, so it all just works together.”