By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Labor Day has come and gone, and ‘officially’, as they say, summer is now a thing of the past. ??? But that’s not necessarily true. Don’t be mistaken, thinking that garden produce is now history as well! NOT TRUE, and the evidence is still visible at the Bridgeport Farmers Market, held weekly at Charles Pointe. The outdoor market will still be offering many things every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October 12th.
Here is what you can expect to find there … end-of-season tomatoes, corn, peppers, green beans, cucumbers – even though they may begin to ease out a little. Many are buying tomatoes and beans by the bushel at the market now to push in some canning before they’re all depleted! When they are gone, they’ll be replaced with lots of apples, pears, squash and pumpkins – and yes, even mums will start to appear for your autumn decorating needs! You will also continue to find grass fed beef, lamb chicken, pork, farm fresh eggs, honey … along with many juried artisans exhibiting woodworking, pottery, and specially designed jewelry.
DNC Farm from Flemington will also be bringing their antique cider press and will actually be pressing apples at the market, so you can buy it fresh on the spot!
The market will take a short break for a couple of weeks the end of October, but it will return and the first winter market, held indoors at the Bridgeport Conference Center will begin on November 9th. The winter market is held on the second Sunday of each month only – from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It typically features protein products such as grass-fed beef, chicken, lamb, pork, rabbit, and quail to name a few, along with some produce grown in high tunnels such as kale, lettuce, carrots and potatoes.
“If you want to eat regionally, West Virginia produce will still be available – just on a more limited basis during the winter months,” said Debbie Workman, a market Board member who has been a volunteer at the market for some time. “We will continue to have WV honey, baked goods, etc., and remember that folks begin in November to order fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving!”
Look forward to the December market too. Santa will be there, and you’ll find gift baskets for holiday giving and many special holiday activities. The market continues once a month into January, February, March and April.
Bridgeport Farmers Market has grown by leaps and bounds since its beginning in 2009. “We started back then in front of Bridgeport High School with just six vendors,” Workman continued. “We’re already in our fourth season at Charles Point and it has become a real ‘community’ of local growers. Through the years we’ve added WV artisans, local musicians providing entertainment, local chefs doing cooking demos, a Sunday brunch and we have added our Country Roads Cook-Off too where amateur chefs prepare dishes with ingredients from our market. We keep growing, and that is our focus.”
Bridgeport Farmers Market has been getting lots of state and national recognition as well. They were ranked 25th out of 100 markets in the entire U.S. in the National Farmland Trust, were awarded first place for best social media campaign and third place for best marking piece.
“We would like to inform folks too that on September 28th, we’ll be working in conjunction with the Clarksburg Kennel Club for a ‘Meet the Breed’ event that will feature dogs of various breeds,” Workman emphasized. “We are always a very dog-friendly atmosphere and we even have a vendor that makes special dog treats. But at our Meet the Breed event, there will be an obedience rally course set up in the field that will offer demonstrations and techniques for obedience training. We hope it will be well received.”
The goal of the Bridgeport Farmers Market is to continue to grow and at some point in the future, they’d like to have a permanent structure at Charles Pointe for their markets. So keep supporting them … and don’t forget that markets continue year round – just on a more limited basis beginning in November.