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Ruston Farmers Market takes summer break

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After a record-breaking number of vendors, sales and customers, The Ruston Farmers Market will close for a short break after the Saturday market day, but will reopen for the fall season on Oct. 1.

Jean McWeeney, president of North Louisiana Farm Fresh, the nonprofit that manages the market, said the market did well this summer.

“It’s been fantastic and we didn’t expect response from the community,” she said.

“We are very happy about that. The space is working out nicely. We have had a lot of interest from new vendors, which is always a good thing, and we have kept a usual line up of fun things such as demos and children’s activities.”

McWeeney said customers were pleased with the move to the new location at 220 E. Mississippi Avenue, a covered, open-air facility.

“A lot of people have said (they were happy with the new building),” she said. “The vendors who have been with us for a long time are happy about that as well because they don’t have to deal with rain and excessive heat.”

The market’s Double Bucks program matching SNAP purchases was also a customer favorite.
“We are still trying to get the word out about that but we have seen an increase in SNAP customers,” she said.

“We are able to match up to $10 per market day for eligible products.

“We have had a record number of SNAP sales this summer. We have had almost $600 in SNAP sales.”

Another new aspect of the market is the children’s activities sponsored by North Central Louisiana Arts Council andLouisiana Tech University’s ESA, SciTEC, OWISE and WiSTEM which kept children busy while parents looked around the market, McWeeney said.

“They come up with some unusual and interesting art projects for the kids and they are there every week,” she said.

“We have also partnered with a group from Tech to do science-type projects with the children.”
Cooking demos by local chefs and a food preservation demo by a Master Canner, healthy foods prepared with market produce by Tech dietetic interns, a new market loyalty program, music by area musicians and the annual Taste of Summer Festival were just a few features of this year’s summer market, she said.

The Ruston Farmers Market normally takes a break before the fall market starts in order to give produce vendors a chance to prepare new crops, McWeeney said.

“It’s the time of year that it is so hot that our produce vendors don’t irrigate their fields so they are getting ready to plow their fields and put in stuff for the fall market,” she said.

The market will reopen Oct. 1 and continue through Dec. 17.

The staff of the North Louisiana Farm Fresh, thank the city of Ruston, sponsors, donors and volunteers for their commitment to providing a dedicated space in which to build a sustainable, local food system, she said.

“We really appreciate the support of the community, we are very happy for those who have come out to support us,” McWeeney said.

The market will be open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Want to know more?

For more information on the Ruston Farmers Market, visit www.rustonfarmersmarket.org.
Ruston Farmers Market is also found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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