The Exponent Telegram
January 7, 2013
By Darlene Taylor-Morgan
BRIDGEPORT – The Bridgeport Farmers Winter Market features much more than just locally grown and raised food products.
There are artisans with a variety of homemade wares, jewelry and toiletries, live music and a market-style brunch prepared with local foods by Bridgeport Conference Center chefs.
This is the third year that the market has continued through the winter months and it's held from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month inside the conference center at Charles Pointe.
Debbie Workman, a member of the market's board of directors, said it continues to grow with new features but the main focus remains the same – local food.
"We moved to Charles Pointe from the Bridgeport High School lot to work toward a permanent structure," she said. "They have offered to help us achieve that in the future. It is our three to five-year plan."
Another addition will be a once-a-month artisan market in conjunction with the Farmers Market. It would only include juried artists approved by the board of directors, Workman said.
Tim Goots, executive chef at the conference center, explained that three were 110 meals prepared for the brunch on Sunday and only 60 had reservations.
"Many who came for the market decided to stay for brunch. It's a great thing. I purchase a lot of the foods here … pork, rabbit, beef, breads. We support the market and it is good for us," Goots said.
That also will be the focus of a fundraising community dinner to benefit the Farmers Market. It will be held at 6 p.m. Jan 14 at the conference center and prepaid reservations are required. The cost is $20.
Some of the vendors participating will include Fish Hawk Acres, Hawthorne Valley Farms, Gardner Farms and Green Acres Farms.
Workman said it is necessary to raise funds for the market because it doesn't charge any of the vendors.
"We look to the community for support," she said.
Acoustic guitar music by Rus Reppert welcomes visitors to the market room which has the aroma of fresh herbs and scents of bath and body products.
The vendors agreed that the market has excellent community support and many of the folks are repeat customers.
Debbie Gaston and her mother Kitty Gaston of Clarksburg said it was their first visit this year because of their stay at a summer home in Barbour County.
"We like the fresh produce in the summer and have visited markets in Clarksburg, Philippi, Buckhannon and Weston," Debbie Gaston said.
John and Vicki Nutter of Philippi, along with their daughter Hannah, 4, displayed goat's milk soaps and lotions.
"We are new to this. We've been doing it since October and Hannah helps us make the lotion," Vickie Nutter said.
Ann Nye and Carol Schweiker of the West Virginia Herb Association were displaying their products for the second consecutive year.
"I have a lot of fun," said Nye of Bridgeport. "I enjoy talking to everybody. We are here to promote the association."
For more information on the community dinner or to secure a reservation call (304) 669-4340 or (304) 669-8172 or email BridgeportFarmers-Market@yahoo.com.