With our pre-season warm-ups complete, it’s time for the Big Game Day at the Floyd Farmers Market.  Our Grand Opening Celebration is this Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. sponsored by the Floyd office of Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance in a great show of support for the market and its producer-members.

The Grand Opening will feature Bernie Covney playing music and providing a real downtown Floyd atmosphere for shoppers and vendors.  We’ll have face painting for kids of all ages.  Starting at 10:30 a.m., we’ll have a hula hoop jam with Wild Earth Hoops out of Blacksburg who have been a big hit at the Blacksburg Farmer Market.

A full slate of Floyd-area growers and producers will be on hand bringing you the best in local, vital food.  The line-up includes all the major food groups: fresh spring vegetables like cooking greens, lettuces, peas and spring onions; early fruits like local sweet cherries and strawberries; dairy in the form of local goat and cow cheeses; local meat in the form of pork, beef and chickens;  and of course baked goods from Sweetwater Bakery.

We also feature some non-edible items such as aromatherapy products and many seedlings for the home garden and landscape including vegetables, flowers and even some bushes like blueberries.

One unique feature starting this week is our non-profit fundraising table.  Each week, we will make a booth space available for local non-profits, churches and civic organizations to conduct fundraising and informational events at the Market.  This week Blue Mountain School will hold a bake sale with a variety of baked goods and jams prepared by parents, staff and students.  I’m looking forward to seeing and tasting what yummy treats they come up with as this is a rather creative group.

Did you know that Floyd County consumes more ice cream per capita than any other county in the Commonwealth?  O.K. I just totally made that up but I say let’s go for it starting this Saturday with the unveiling of the Floyd Country Store’s new ice cream cart.  We’ll have special prices on ice cream scoops starting around mid-morning as I could not convince them to serve ice cream for breakfast which I think is a shame as how are we going to become champions if we don’t stretch beyond our perceived limitations?

Seriously, this is about food and that’s where the real excitement comes in for me.  This Grand Opening marks a culmination of many hours of work from a dedicated group of people intent on seeing this happen.  SustainFloyd provided the energy, people power and funding to make this happen, we should be clear on that.  Yet this started long before SustainFloyd stepped in.

The Floyd Farmers Market is possible because of our strong agricultural heritage stretching back generations.  It’s possible because of the past efforts at farmers markets through the years.  It’s possible because of places like Harvest Moon and Oddfellas Cantina and Greens Garage who held our place in line until the rest of us could catch up and reclaim our roots.  And it’s possible because local producers stayed in the game when the average (read, “sane”) person would have folded.  All these folks kept local food available long before it was fashionable.

The Floyd Farmers Market will not only be another marketplace linking local producers with the greater community.  It will also serve as a weekly reminder of our history and a vision of our future.

Now that’s something to celebrate.

Mike Burton is Director of SustainFloyd

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