Highland County Farmers Market Will Be Fully Open This Summer

Plans are underway for the 2021 season of the Highland County Farmers Market.  This summer the market will be fully open once again.  Mary Parham is the new Market Manager and she has an update.

“So right now, I’m reaching out to vendors to gauge their interest in the market,” says Parham.  “In addition to that, I’m trying to work with musicians and other demonstrators, setting up a schedule to really boost the market back up to the community event that it has been in the past years.  Our goal is every last Friday of the month, will be that, will be a music and makers market in addition to all of our food vendors.”

“We’re very excited to be offering SNAP assistance to people who are qualified for that program,” says Parham.  “Our SNAP recipients, they can come to the market and they can use their accounts at the farmers market for eligible food items.  We’re also going to be taking part in the Virginia Fresh Match program this season, which essentially will double the amount that they have available to them.  It’s a food incentive program, a nutrition incentive program, where people can use their SNAP dollars to double the value at market.”

“We’re hopeful that we can partner with some other community groups,” says Parham.  “There is a new food coalition that has formed that I’m going to be working with as the Market Manager, hoping together we can rid some food equity gaps in the area.  That sounds a little vague.  What I mean by that though, is that we’re working to try to work with local farmers, work with the market, and anyway increase food access to the community is the point of that.   I’m also in touch with the Highland County Public Library.  They have offered a summer reading program in the past and I’m hopeful that we can get some events going at the market for family and kids.  Again, to really promote this market as a full community event.”

“I just moved from North Carolina,” says Parham.  “I spent most of the past decade living in the Asheville area, living in a beautiful, rural area of Brasstown before I moved here.  I have worn many hats.  I’ve been a professional baker, I have farmed, I have worked at a plant nursery and so on.  I am also a crafter, a weaver, so I’m really plugged in in my life to making and creating and eating good food.  My husband is a farmer and the reason we moved up here to Monterey is he’s the new farm manager at the Allegheny Mountain Institute.  So, it’s sort of a beautiful, seamless welcome for us and to Highland County and I’m looking forward to applying my varied experience to managing a small market.  I’ve been a part of many small markets, but I’m looking forward to getting this one back up and running.”

The Highland County Farmers Market opens Friday, May 28.  It will be held outside at The Highland Center.

A vendor information meeting for the market is set for Friday, April 16 at 4pm at The Highland Center in Monterey.

For more information, email Mary Parham at farmersmarket@thehighlandcenter.org or call 540-468-1922.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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