Various interesting stories passing through the Columbia Farmers Market:
Greenwood Farms, a state-certified raw-milk dairy, contacted CFM with interest in joining the market. Based on their state-issued Grade-A retail license, the market board (of which I’m a member) approved their membership. However, the local health department rejected permission to sell raw milk in the county, and the market decided not to fight the legal battle required to challenge that ruling.
Shortly thereafter, Weiler Dairy (whose pasteurized milk is currently available in local groceries) contacted the market to join, and was approved by both the board and the health department. They started selling last week.
Customer and vendor counts have really grown; we’re already hitting numbers seen only in mid-summer last year. Space is extremely tight and there will be many vendors forced into either sharing a single stall space or setting up farther and farther into the fringes of the market space; this includes us. Anyone visiting the market this year should have no trouble seeing the desperate need for a more permanent, expanded facility; the popularity and growth of the market have far outstripped the narrow space we’re squeezed in to. Please remember, when you’re browsing the market, to visit those of us set up along the fringes because there’s no more room anywhere else.
However, despite repeated efforts, no portion of the Federal stimulus money alloted to Missouri was assigned to the Pavilion campaign. So we’ll simply go back to the longer-term fundraising campaign we were already hard at work on, raising private funds, applying for grants, and so on. This means it will probably be two more years before any relief is had by the Market. Not sure what this summer and next year will look like. In the meantime, you can listen to a KBIA report on all this by listening to the May 13 Business Beat show.