(Published on April, 2018)
Spring is finally here, which means the Salem Farmers Market is officially open for business. Through December, locals and visitors can visit the market each Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to purchase baked goods, distinctive crafts, unique gifts and much more.
For the last eight years, Laura Reilly has served as the Salem Farmers Market Director.
“I supervise all aspects of the farmers market, including daily operations,” Reilly said. “Saturday mornings can be a hectic time for people. Supporting your local farmers market, however, is equivalent to supporting the heart of your community.”
Kristo-Jo Procak and Victoria Schwendiman are among the new vendors this year.
“We offer Kombucha, which is a fermented tea that is packed with probiotics, antioxidants and digestive enzymes,” Kristi-Jo said. “We are different from our competitors because our Kombucha is oak barrel brewed with a lot of love in small batches, which means it produces a much smoother flavor.”
When Schwendiman’s children were younger, she and her husband would bring them to the Salem Farmers Market each Saturday.
“Sometimes they got to taste a sample. These are the kinds of experiences I’m hoping Salem Farmers Market visitors will have with my family and our fresh hot donuts,” Schwendiman, owner of Big Bite Donuts, said. “This is a place to make memories, spend time with family and friends and get the food that will nourish us all. We vendors need the support of the community.”
Stephanie Schneider mentioned the relationships she’s built over the years when asked what she enjoys most about being a market vendor.
“The vendors here have become our family. On any given Saturday morning, vendors will take a moment to say hi, check in and see how everyone is,” Schneider, a creator of alpaca products along with her husband, said. “The vendors all work to take care of each other, even if it is as simple as covering a booth for a bathroom break or writing a card when someone is sick. We truly look out for each other.”
Russell Travis has been selling honey related products at the Salem Farmers Market for almost five years. To him, the market is much more than just a place to purchase healthy food items.
“I have found that every moment I spend at the market is a special moment. It’s a great place to be and especially a great place to meet people that are so nice,” Travis said. “Supporting the farmers market helps to keep our local economy growing and provides the public with items that are growing or produced right in their own backyard.”
As temperatures get warmer, Laura believes that the overall number of vendors will increase.
“Our mission is to provide a venue for farmers and consumers to connect. A goal I have for the next five months is to increase the number of customers who faithfully visit the market,” she said. “We have some fun events coming up, including an Earth Day Celebration on April 21. On Saturday, April 28, we are holding the first ever Biz Kidz Showcase which will feature some of the brightest business minds of Andrew Lewis Middle School.”
The Salem Farmer’s Market is at 14 W Main Street. Visit market.salemva.gov for more information.