Athens Farmers Market has been a homegrown, locally sourced market for almost 50 years now. The market is home to multiple vendors who bring locally grown produce, crops, meats and baked goods to be sold every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m, and Wednesdays during the warmer months.
“Our main focus, of course, is fresh locally grown produce,” Tanya Hire, Athens Market manager, said. “As well as locally grown raised meats –– so beef, pork, lamb, chicken poultry –– that sort of thing. And then we also have several vendors that produce or process foods locally. We've got lots of bread and bakery items –– honey, syrup, jam. Avalanche Pizza has a booth there.”
The market carries fresh food for a refreshing break from the chain restaurants surrounding it. Although there is not a permanent infrastructure, the market is able to set up their goods every Saturday for the people from or visiting Athens to stock up with. However, with the cold months ahead, the market had to adjust to the weather conditions and adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.
What: •Athens Farmers Market
Where: •1002 E. State St.
When: •Saturdays, •9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
“From Dec. 1 to April 1 some vendors are set up inside the former Elder Beerman store inside the mall,” Larry Cowdery, Athens Farmers Market president, said in a message. “I would like to assure customers there is plenty of space for social distance. The space is well lit, warm and dry. Additionally, there is plenty of parking in the back of the mall and a door to enter.”
Following the Athens County Health Department guideline, the market has kept the vendors and customers safe.
While continuously growing their base, the Athens Market is always searching for new and creative ways to be involved with Athens and its surrounding organizations.
“We collaborate with, or partner with, the Athens Art Guild,” Hire said. “We have a section of our market space that is dedicated to local artists. So it really is a neat place to visit, with of course, most importantly, being able to get the fresh fruits and vegetables that don't have the supply chain.”
The market creates support for local artists, which helps encourage the support from the people of Athens. While supporting local artists and organizations, the market receives the same support in return. Growing for 50 years, the citizens and vendors of Athens have made it possible for the market to flourish.
“We are fortunate to have a very dedicated and supportive community here in Athens,” Cowdery said in a message. “I am constantly amazed at their dedication to the market, coming in all weather and seasons. I realize this has been a challenging year for many but I would like the community to know that we appreciate their support and are doing everything within our power to make the AFM as safe and pleasant as possible for everyone.”
Being minutes away from Ohio University’s campus, the market offers a new Saturday activity for the students or anyone visiting. In fact, the Athens local bus system drives out to the market, so no car is no worry. The market allows for anyone and everyone and encourages students to come see the growing environment for themselves.
“I had no idea that this even existed, so with COVID, I feel like this would be a great thing to do with your friends,” Meg Rees, a freshman studying commercial photography, said. “After having a few meals at the dining hall, I think it'd be nice to go to a farmers market and try out new produce and take a break from the processed food.”