The Newville Farmer’s Market might just be one of the best-kept secrets in western Cumberland County.
Since opening eight weeks ago on the lawn of the John Graham Public Library, the market has doubled in vendors but has experienced spotty support from area residents.
“Things have been going pretty well,” says library director David Cubie. “There are eight vendors now with a variety of products, including produce, eggs, fresh cut flowers and meats.”
Each Saturday vendors pick the freshest produce, gather eggs and arrange flowers for the farmer’s market that runs from 9 a.m. to noon at the library.
Since opening in late-June, farmer participation has grown from four to eight vendors.
Admittedly “tentative” about coming to the farmer’s market at first, Zach Williams, who operates Virescence, near King’s Gap, says, community members are guaranteed to get some of the “best deals – often at half the price of stores.”
“The quality is a multitude times better, and there’s great people here,” he adds.
Vendors characterize patronage of the farmer’s market as “sporadic.”
Although community members are “ultra supportive,” Williams says things have dropped off in recent weeks – perhaps due to the summer’s stifling temperatures.
“It was busier at first then it slowed down,” vendor Jennifer Conners, Bloserville, says. “I cut back on the things I bring, I am willing to do the work but at this time it’s not been worth it.”
Newer vendor, Scott Horst, Newville, says, “Sometimes it can be a little slow.”
For three weeks, Horst and his sister, Arlene, have delivered homegrown produce, fruit and cut flowers to the market. The siblings also sell gourd birdhouses and handmade dishcloths.
“It’s fun to get out,” Arlene says of the market.
Another vendor, Mary Pat Henry, Newville, says several local and Green Ridge Village residents regularly come out to the market, but that “some weeks there’s more traffic.”
“It’s a great place to buy fresh, local produce,” she says,” and support local farmers.”
In its first year of commercial operation, Henry operates Totem Pole Farm with her husband, Rick. The couple also sells their produce at Shippensburg’s Thoughtful Farmer’s Market on Thursdays from 3-7 p.m.
Despite the ups and downs, vendors continue to support the Newville Farmer’s Market and encourage community participation.
“I like coming here,” Conners says. “People are friendly, we often swap things and exchange tips and recipes. I cannot say enough about how nice everyone is.”
Residents can expect to purchase affordable produce including cucumbers, potatoes, onions, peppers, beans, peaches, beets and other seasonal favorites. Also available at the market are meats sold by Painted Hand Farm, Newburg, which raises sustainably produced livestock including beef, veal, goat, chicken and pork.
A rather unusual, yet popular item at the market are the hotter-than-hot peppers sold by Williams. The super-spicy peppers, he jokes, are “weaponized vegetables.”
This Saturday, William hopes to have chocolate habanero peppers available for purchase, which he says are “good for salsa.”
For more information about the market or to reserve a vendor slot, contact Cubie at (717) 776-5900 or email@example.com or visit the John Graham Public Library at 9 Parsonage St.