Extension agent details changes due to pandemic
KINGWOOD— The Preston County Farmers Market could be open as early as June 20.
Preston County West Virginia University Extension Service Agent William Shockey said due to COVID-19 there will be some changes in how the market will operate.
He said the distancing problem will be eliminated by spacing vendors farther apart. Shockey said customers must also be mindful of the social distancing requirement and not crowd around vendors.
“I’ve received a lot of regulations from the Department of Agriculture,” he said. “I just have to go through them and see what works for us.”
Shockey said the Preston County Farmers Market has been in operation about 17 years.
“We started out in the courthouse annex building parking lot,” he said. “We opened at 8 in the morning and by the time 10 rolled around, it was hot.”
Shockey said despite the heat, vendors continued to sell their produce in the parking lot for “some time.”
“The county administrator approached me and asked if we would consider moving to the lawn of the McGrew House,” he said. “I thought it over for about a third of a second, and we’ve been at the McGrew House ever since.”
He said the new location had the advantage of providing shade for the vendors and their produce.
Products for sale at the farmers market range from fresh seasonal vegetables and fruit to locally raised meats, baked goods and herbs.
Shockey said he doesn’t have an exact number of vendors who participate in the program. The number varies.
“I’ve had as many as 15 and as few as one,” he said.
However, he added, the market has been steadily growing.
“I get a weekly sales estimate from the vendors,” Shockey said. “It’s grown 15% to 20% over the past three years.”
The farmers market will be open 9-11 a.m. Saturdays initially. Starting in July, it will also be open 4-6 p.m. Tuesday evenings.