Cassville Farmers' Market to 
officially open season Saturday

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Popular fresh foods market plans to expand to 2 days a week

In its 40th year of operation, the Cassville Farmers' Market is gearing up for a new season come Saturday, and in more ways than one.

The popular fresh-foods market will continue to be available to residents on the square Saturday mornings from 7-11 a.m. with its smorgasbord of produce and home-made wares. On Saturday, the market will officially open for the season. From 10-11 a.m., gospel singer Keith Stephens will provide entertainment.

"It's the longest-running Farmers' Market in Barry County," said Albert Wolfe.

Wolfe, who lives in Wheaton and is retired from dairy farming, is in his first year of being in charge of the market, is full of optimism and wants to ensure the market continues to enjoy the same record of longevity.

"I didn't want to see it die," he said. "I'm excited about this year. I think there will be a lot of new people, and the thing that excites me is there are some young people that want to start coming and selling produce. I think that is exciting to any organization."

Wolfe said he expects many different vendors to participate in the market.

"There's a lot of new vendors who've inquired," he said. "I'm hoping we can have at least 12 or so."

The usual palate of fares residents have come to expect and enjoy will be available for the season, including all manner of fresh produce, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, green onions, eggplants, farm-fresh eggs, honey, baked breads and home-made items and crafts.

Wolfe said one vendor may be selling yard ornaments, another will have knitted items and another will sell honey.

Wolfe will also be selling goods, including baked breads, eggs and a variety of fresh produce.

Wolf said that, in addition to the well-known health benefits of eating fresh produce, most buyers agree that it just tastes better.

"Fresh tomatoes have a really good flavor," he said. "A lot of people buy heirlooms; they have more flavor than the hybrids."

Something new this year is the market will be expanding to not just one day a week, but two, so residents will have multiple opportunities to shop.

On Tuesdays from 2:30-6 p.m., hopefully around the end of May, Wolfe said, the same market will also be available to residents at the auction house on Sale Barn Road.

Wolfe said Jerry Watley, who owns the property, offered to make an area available for vendors, and felt the location would provide good visibility for both producers and local residents alike.

"Jerry Watley offered to pour a 100-foot slab and put an awning or roof over it and we'll be there on Tuesdays," Wolfe said. "He said he would do that as a community service. Regal employees get off at 3 p.m., so we hope to get some of those folks, too. We'd like to have it ready by the end of May."

Another advantage of the Tuesday market, Wolfe said, is that vendors can provide even fresher produce.

"We could go out on Tuesday morning and pick and sell it Tuesday night," Wolfe said. "That's what I'm looking forward to. I think most all of the vendors will be there, too, because most of them are like me, they're retired and that's mostly what they do."

If any vendors are interested in becoming part of the market, they can contact Wolfe at 417-652-7308.

"It's a $20 membership fee for the year, and a $3 set up charge," Wolfe said. "Or, if vendors want to come once a month, they can just pay a $5 set up charge each time, and no yearly fee."

One thing Wolfe wanted to emphasize to vendors is that the market prides itself on selling only fresh produce, and that's what they will make available to eager residents waiting for the market to open for the season.

"We want it fresh grown out of the garden," he said.

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