Tomatoes and Bluegrass music are both a staple of Appalachian culture, and the Williamson Farmers Market is the perfect place to combine these two important cultural aspects into a neighborhood gathering.
Producing More Than Produce
The Farmers Market offers many programs to help boost the amount of localized shopping and encourage a healthier culture. They showcase many local growers and businesses. All of which have great produce and baked goods to sell at a reasonable price. They offer the perfect ingredients for many Southern classics like a summertime ‘mater sandwich or a fresh kettle of green beans. Rebecca Hooker, Williamson Farmers Market Manager, said events like these produce an “avenue for profit” for many locals who are trying to build a clientele.
Aside from helping local vendors, the Farmers Market’s ultimate goal is to cater to the community’s needs. According to The Demographic Statistical Atlas, around 29.1% of those in Mingo County receive SNAP benefits. Those at Williamson Farmers Market realized that an important key to creating a healthier culture for everyone in the area was to make sure they all had access to the fresh foods the market offered, no matter the form of payment. They now accept SNAP/EBT with the opportunity to double or even triple your SNAP/EBT money through a SNAP Stretch program. You can learn more about the SNAP Stretch program here!
“Bluegrass Jam Session”
However, they also try to cater to the community’s needs beyond food. The Williamson Farmers Market has teamed up with local musicians to provide a summer-long series of musical performances called Music at the Market. Hooker said events like this along with other programs that they host have turned the Farmers Market into a social event for the community.
This weekend Terry Hunt and Bruce Smith took on the crowd with what Hooker called a “bluegrass jam session”. Hunt brought along the trusty mandolin that he’s had since 1977. He bought it with his first paycheck from the railroad, and he hasn’t stopped playing it since. Smith played the guitar and provided some hearty vocals. This type of music is very typical for any event in Appalachia, and it really connects to the roots of our heritage here in the area.
Nothin’ But A Good Time
The Williamson Farmers Market truly brings the saying “where there are good music and good food, there is bound to be a good time!” to life. Hooker said events like these are proof that “Williamson, specifically, is coming back to its own.” It is through the Williamson Farmers Market and other programs that combine and appreciate our culture that we may come together as a proud community.