HEALTHY LIVING: Farmers market in eighth year

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Customers check out some locally made honey at the Ironton Farmers Market. (The Ironton Tribune | Mark Shaffer)

It was eight years ago that the Ironton Farmers Market opened up to the public.

Since then, Market Square on Second Street in downtown has become a Friday and Saturday morning destination for people seeking fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season.

The market’s vendors are from Lawrence County and surrounding counties and they offer a variety of goods, like seasonal produce, baked goods, honey, eggs, homemade candy, homemade crafts and flowers.

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The market is a project of Ironton aLive and its executive director, Sam Heighton, also oversees the market.

He said there are a lot of healthy options at the market.

“Some of our baked goods are good, healthy food,” he said. “And we have a lot of homegrown items. I think, if you look around, you will find all kinds of healthy food.

And we plan to have a healthy food brochure for shoppers, so they know what they are looking at and what are the healthy options.”

The market began for several reasons, including helping local farmers and crafters have a place to sell, giving customers a taste of locally raised produce and to bring more people downtown. A couple hundred people visit the market on most weekends.

“People enjoy the farmers market’s atmosphere,” Heighton said. “People enjoy the variety and the ease of shopping. And we have a lot of baked items now and crafts, too. It is just a good shopping experience.”

Heighton said that one of the big draws is that most of the produce is grown locally.

“We have three categories,” he said. “First is homegrown, then locally grown and then grown out of the area. Every vendor has to specify where the produce comes from.”

Heighton said that, this time of year, you know that there isn’t locally-homegrown corn or green beans, “But as those items come on, we’ll do more and more homegrown.”

It also gives civic groups like Ironton In Bloom a chance to raise funds by using food from the market to make goods that they give away, although people are free to donate to the group.

The market is supported by a grant from King’s Daughters Medical Center and Ironton aLive uses those funds to buy items for the vendors, such as aprons and hats and some advertising.

The Ironton Farmers Market is held at Market Square on Second Street in Ironton on Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m.–3 p.m. or until vendors sell out.