New at BG farmers’ market: Check produce at ‘Veggie Valet’ PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Saturday, 16 March 2013 07:38
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File photo. Linda Joseph arranges zucchini at her booth at last year's Farmer's Market in downtown Bowling Green. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
When the Downtown Farmers' Market in Bowling Green returns in May, organizers will be incorporating several suggestions gathered from the community in a year-long study that concluded in late 2012.
"The new features we're implementing at the market this year are intended to make the downtown more of a summertime destination for area residents and to make the market more responsive to our customers' needs and wishes," said Barbara Ruland, executive director of Downtown Bowling Green and the leader of the strategic planning study.
The Downtown Farmers' Market was begun in 2010 and has grown steadily since. The planning study was funded by a grant from the Center for Farmland Policy Innovation at Ohio State University and sought input from community members, downtown business owners, and market vendors through a combination of surveys and focus groups. The study also surveyed other markets for best practices and evaluated available downtown spaces to accommodate the market's growth.
The downtown space study was the first component completed and resulted in last year's move to a bigger space, donated for the market's use by Huntington Bank, at 201 S. Main St.
Comments made in the surveys and focus groups have led the market staff to create a "Veggie Valet" service, which operates like a coat check. According to Ruland, "Many of our customers make their market shopping trips an event, combining them with visits to downtown shops and restaurants. But there's always a dilemma about what to do with their market purchases. Carry them around or leave them in the car? Now market customers can check their packages at the Veggie Valet while they're exploring the downtown."
Study participants also asked for more information about the foods available and their preparation, so the market will feature on a recipe contest. It will be a regular part of the market schedule.
Downtown Bowling Green will be collaborating on the recipe contest with Wood County Hospital, Heritage Corner Healthcare Campus, the Sentinel-Tribune and members of BGSU's Recreation and Wellness and Family and Consumer Sciences Departments.
A couple initiatives that debuted last year will also return this season. The Frequent Farmer program, which rewards regular market customers with Downtown Dollars certificates, is returning this year. So is the Downtown Sidewalk Sale, which will be offered the last Wednesday of every month during the market season. Local community groups will be invited to participate in the sidewalk sales, along with the downtown businesses.
The 2013 Downtown Farmers' Market season runs from May 22 to Oct. 16. The market is open Wednesdays from 4 to 8 p.m.
Last Updated on Saturday, 16 March 2013 07:48
 

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