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June 2012
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Paducah Farmers' Market set for grand opening

By Becca Schimmeland Leanne Fullernews@paducahsun.com

Starting Saturday, you can give the can opener a rest and go for the real thing. The downtown Paducah Farmers' Market will celebrate its grand opening.

Paducah Special Events Coordinator Molly Tomasallo reported there will be a mixture of old and new vendors at the market. All 20 market spots have been rented, and the Paducah Parks Department is looking at ways to expand.

"We have a full house," Tomasallo said to the Paducah City Commission on Tuesday. "I've met with old vendors and new faces who are excited for the opportunity to come to Paducah as a vendor here. Variety always attracts more people and benefits the entire community."

Patrons of the market can often find fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, cut flowers, potted plants, breads and pastries, cow's milk cheeses, eggs and honey.

Minnie Miller, a vendor from Ledbetter who has sold produce at the Paducah Farmers' Market for several years, sells a wide variety of homegrown items, including cabbage, squash, green beans, onions, peppers, potatoes, green peas, cucumbers and strawberries, as well as jams, jellies, pickled fruits and vegetables, honey and sorghum.

"We have a produce place in Ledbetter," Miller explained. "We sell and raise our produce there. We've been down there for 38 years and been down here for 30."

Miller said one of the benefits of vending at the Paducah market is that, if she grows an overabundance in Ledbetter, it won't go to waste. She said she's had a lot of success at the market.

"A lot of people in the spring over here - and the summertime, you know - they're ready for these fresh vegetables, especially homegrown vegetables that you can get here locally, and a lot of people come to the farmers' market to shop for fresh vegetables," Miller said.

Jordan Culp of Kirchhoff's Bakery said this will be the bakery's fourth or fifth year vending at the farmers' market.

"It's a good business opportunity, and Kirchhoff's likes to support local businesses and local farmers, and we try to buy local produce whenever it's available," Culp said.

He said a lot of the people who shop at the farmers' market are the same folks who shop at the bakery, but the farmers' market can be an easier alternative for some people than shopping at the bakery.

"It's a one-stop shop instead of having to go and trying to find a parking spot downtown or walk over there," Culp said, adding that it also, "opens up our business to a lot of people who maybe wouldn't go to the bakery before."

The market also features vendors of jewelry and other handmade items.

Debbie Lane, of Golconda, Ill., has been selling garden totems and yard flowers handmade from recycled dishes at the Paducah Farmers' Market on Saturdays with a friend since January.

In addition to pure decoration, the totems can be used for a variety of purposes, including outdoors as planters or bird feeders and indoors as table decorations and serving dishes. Lane said selling their wares at the farmers' market means she and her friend can charge lower prices than they'd be able to if they rented space in a shop or sold the items at a craft fair, and that she's looking forward to the market's grand opening celebration.

"Molly's trying really hard to get different types of booths down here other than just food, and so maybe that'll help (increase interest for non-food items)," Lane said.

Tomasallo said the city is also looking to host more food demonstrations and family-friendly events in conjunction with the farmers' market.

The market is located at North Second and Monroe streets. It will be open Monday through Saturday, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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Farmers' markets in Murray, Mayfield, Benton and Cadiz are open.

Murray Farmers' Market will be open from 7 a.m. to noon Saturdays on Maple Street. The market has approximately 50 vendors and will feature a wide range of items including produce, meat, baked goods, honey, worms, shrimp, jewelry, pottery and more.

It will be open until Oct. 25. During peak produce season, a second location will be open at Murray-Calloway County Hospital from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays.

Mayfield Farmers' Market will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon. It can be located at First Christian Church parking lot on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Saturdays the market will be on the north side of the court square.

A wide range of items will be offered including flowers, strawberries, onions, cabbage, squash, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, peas, beans, local honey, jams and jellies.

Benton Farmers' Market is open on Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and located on 11th Street. It will offer fruits, vegetables and handcrafted baskets or art.

Cadiz Farmers' Market will be open from 7 a.m. to noon on Wednesday and Saturday. Located across from the art museum, the market will offer flowers, fruits, vegetables, honey and baked goods.

Contact Becca Schimmel or Leanne Fuller, Paducah Sun staff writers, at 270-575-8600.

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