Fresh produce coming to a parking lot near you

Ray County residents looking for fresh produce won’t have to drive around looking for it this summer.
The Richmond Ordinance Committee made some final changes to a farmers market ordinance that will allow for a market to return to Richmond.
Last March the city council passed an ordinance to establish a farmers market.
Community Development Director Lisa Hastings said the city would have had a market last year, but the city got a late start.
“It was so late last year nobody had a chance to get it figured out and we were competing with everybody else,” Hastings told the committee.
Changes to the ordinance include taking out specific times for operation and adding a provision that does not allow for selling out of trunks of cars.
Hastings said three interested farmers have approached her and said the city should have about five vendors for Mushroom Festival Weekend.
“They won’t have much to sell, but basically it’s to get the word out that we’re going to do this,” Hastings said about kicking the market off the same weekend as the festival.
Councilwoman Beverly Gorham said the city has not had a market in many years and she is glad it is coming back.
“I’m just excited that somebody actually wants to do this,” Gorham said. “This is such a good thing for the community.”
Hastings said after speaking with farmers the consensus is to have the market on Tuesday evenings and would like to locate the market at the new city parking lot between Main and Franklin Streets, although she said neither is set in stone yet and could change. Hastings said the visibility of the parking lot would help to promote the market.
In addition to selling produce, vendors will also be allowed to sell things such as nuts, cut flowers, jams, jellies, honey and fresh bakery goods.
The ordinance does not allow for the sale of animals, meat, frozen foods or dairy products.
Hastings said the Health Department would be responsible for any health regulations.

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