ST. GEORGE – The fresh produce, impressive vendors and beautiful weather welcomed in the seventh season opener of St. George’s Downtown Farmers Market in Ancestor Square Saturday, with Mayor Jon Pike offering words of welcome for the market season.
Farmers and vendors featured at the market sell products from Washington and Iron counties, currently coming from Leeds, Beryl, Cedar City and St. George. Market manager Jil Gardella said she will allow an occasional vendor from Mesquite if the representation of that particular item is not found locally.
“Nothing is purchased and resold here. You have to be the grower or represent the grower,” Gardella said. “We are truly a representation of what is local.”
The market is evenly balanced between farmers and vendors to appeal to a variety of different interests. This year opens with 27 farmers and artisans represented, a number expected to grow to the Square’s 35 maximum before the season ends November 1.
The fresh produce begins to peak in July and August, Jil Gardella, the Farmers Market manager said, when large amounts of produce are in season in the Southern Utah area.
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Videocast by Samantha Tommer, St. George News
The market officially opened at 9:30 a.m. when Pike touched on the beauty of downtown St. George. He loves to come eat, shop and relax in Ancestor Square at the Farmers Market, he said.
“What I love is the intimate setting here,” Pike said. “It is great to support our local merchants, whether it is farmers or artisans.”
After the opening celebration, Harry O, a local musician, provided this Saturday’s entertainment in the inner courtyard – music and entertainment will be provided each week through a local songwriters group.
The eclectic and homey feel the square provides is something that sets this Farmers Market apart from the rest.
When St. George’s Town Square Park was first built, Gardella and others involved in the market considered switching the venue to be located in that hub of St. George. An email vote was sent out and the results of the voting determined to keep the market in its original location.
Steve Sutton is a local artisan that has returned to sell his works two years in a row. He loves the people, the vendors and atmosphere of the square, he said. The farmers and artisans know each other and he enjoys that they are part of a farmers market family.
St. George resident, Erin O’Brien has grown up going to farmers markets. She moved here when the market first started seven years ago before her daughter was born and attends every weekend when the market is open. Her daughter, Helena, has now had the chance to grow up attending the market in Ancestor Square.
“Her first solid foods were vegetables from this market so it means a lot to us,” Erin O’Brien said of her daughter.
The Downtown Farmers Market is held every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Ancestor Square and will run from May 10, to Nov. 1. Music will be provided every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
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