New farmers? market proving to be fresh idea for Florence

When the city of Florence lost its grocery store about two years ago, a group of people started considering plans for a farmers? market.

Their perseverance has paid off.

Scott Zogelman, one of the early organizers, said market hours are from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Tuesday until Aug. 31.

?The market debuted to an overwhelming crowd May 4,? he said. ?Each week there are shoppers waiting even before the vendors are all set up.?

For some items, Zogelman said, shoppers may need to come right at opening time or supplies may run out.

?Other vendors, though, may not be able to set up right at 5 p.m., so their goods show up a little later in the evening,? he said.

Support from the local community has been ?tremendous,? he said.

One of the main reasons for supporting the market was that so many residents had to drive out of town to get their food supplies.

?Organizers recognized there were several people in town that regularly raise beautiful gardens and have an abundance of produce,? Zogelman said.

Those people were invited to the organizational meeting earlier this year, he said.

?Tuesday evenings were chosen for the market so that it would not be on the same day as markets in neighboring communities.?

Another reason for Tuesdays was because organizers believed that middle of the week was a better time to provide local options for shopping.

?On the weekends, people make plans for out-of-town trips,? he said, ?and by mid-week shoppers may be looking for something fresh.?

Zogelman said market organizers also are encouraging more vendors to take part in the Florence Farmers? Market.

?To be a vendor, members pay a $20 per year fee which is used for promotion costs of the market,? he said.

So far, 12 registered members offer a variety of goods, including plants, fresh produce, home baked goodies, authentic Mexican food, breads, pies, cookies, jams, jellies, pretzels, cheesecakes, afghans, bierrocks, jewelry and homemade crafts.

All items for sale at the market have to be either home grown or homemade.

?The market does not allow flea market or garage sale items,? he said.

Market committee members want to keep things new and interesting at the Florence market, which is hosting a Community Night at the Market Tuesday, June 22.

Jason Callahan of the Callahan Band will perform an acoustic show from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with food and a petting zoo also is planned.

Everyone is invited to participate in the market, Zogel?man said, not just Florence residents.

?The marketers extend the invitation to our neighbors in all of the surrounding communities.

For more information about the Florence Farmers? Market or Community Night, call Zogelman at 620-878-4560 or guestroom@eaglecom.net.

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