By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
With the first Washington Farmers Market being held promptly at 5 p.m. Thursday in Washington Central Park, many of the vendors who will be peddling their wares during the event met last week to discuss the coming season.
During the meeting, market master Bob Shepherd handed out sheets containing changes to the rules for vendors, as well as a list of guest rules for nonprofit entities that would attend the markets. He also discussed state codes. Shepherd introduced Washington County Environmental Health Specialist II Jason Taylor during the meeting, saying it is Taylor?s job to ensure that the vendors met all the state requirements.
?Count on him,? Shepherd said. ?Use him as a source. He will help you. He has done a lot of good things for us.?
Taylor can be reached by calling 319-653-7782.
Shepherd said that there would be no market on July 5. He said past experience had shown that on the day after Independence Day there is not a big crowd at the market. Other than that, unless there is a prediction of dangerous weather, the market will be held every Thursday at 5 p.m. through Oct. 11.
He said again this year, nonprofit organizations can set up three times during the season as guest organizations. Shepherd believes the guest organizations can help bring people to the market and to improve the social atmosphere of the market.
This is the 30th year for the market in Washington.
?We started in 1988 and the goal then was to organize and become a source for people to offer homegrown and home-baked goods, and also to become a social factor within the city,? Shepherd said. ?That was the vision and that is what we have worked hard to realize. I?m talking about the people on both sides of the table. it is everybody.?
Shepherd said this year there is a Facebook page people can use to keep track of events happening at the market.
During the meeting, members of the farmers market board also discussed some of the special events that would happen during the year. The BBQ and Smoker Challenge will be held July 12. The 19th annual Taster?s Choice salsa contest will be held Aug. 30. The Washington Evening Journal will continue to feature its ?We Saw You At The Farmers Market? game.
Last year the committee was formed to assist Shepherd with the market. Chair Ann Williams said that Central Park is the prime location for the markets. She said the market is not the only thing thriving on Thursday evenings, but the other businesses around the square as well. She said many times coming to the market is a family event.