Vendors lined the High Springs Farmers Market pavilion on Tuesday (Oct. 27th) offering their fresh meats, produce, plants and artwork.
“We’ve been patiently waiting for this Farmers’ Market,” High Springs Mayor Byran Williams said at a podium as he addressed dozens of citizens and community leaders during an official ribbon cutting event.
Williams said that the High Springs farmers, staff and community have the “patience of Job,” because of the long road that was taken to reach the official opening.
“I believe it, because I can see it,” he joked about the multiple times the market has been displaced and moved around the city with changing days and times of operation.
It was a USDA grant for $200,000, funds from CRA and City of High Springs and a multitude of city employees, volunteers and commissioners who stuck to the plan to see the market to fruition, he said.
“If you can work together, you can get some things done,” Williams said. “This is the proof right here. Good things come to those who wait.”
Carol Rowan, manager of the market said her goal is to offer a diverse market that will serve the community. “From chicken to meats to veggies, all of our growers have their permits,” she said and added that she was proud that the vendors are, “making this a welcoming market.”
The market operating hours are on Fridays from 3 to 7 p.m.
“We hope to see more of you at our market each week,” Rowan said and she thanked the vendors for putting up with the obstacles from bad weather to multiple location changes. “Everyone stuck by us,” she said. “We are one big family.”
Florida State Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture Deborah Tannenbaum also offered congratulations and said that agriculture is a $137 billion economy in Florida and during the pandemic has been the driving force for the state economy.
There are 47,000 farms in Florida, she said and Alachua County employs 32,000 ag producers and workers who help feed the state and the country.
“Florida agriculture depends on a reliable system that links farmers to consumers,” she said about the importance of farmers’ markets.
“Florida farmers’ markets serve as a network that brings together Florida’s farmers, packers, processors, shippers, brokers and buyers,” Tannenbaum said and then congratulated all involved in establishing the permanent market place set near the railroad tracks in Downtown High Springs.
“You are offering our consumers a fresh and unrivaled taste from locally sourced produce and a platform to sell and sustain thousands of jobs and fuel local economy. I see how much the community’s effort has gone into making this project a reality.”