City of Hartsville receives USDA Grant to expand Farmers Market
Hartsville--The City of Hartsville applied for and received a $51,000 FMPP (Farmers Market Promotion Program) Grant from the USDA. Portions of the Grant have allowed for employment, entertainment and educational opportunities as well as a new weekly market. The Hartsville Farmers Market will begin on April 9th, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., and will continue on the second Saturday of each month through December, and the Centennial Farmers Market will be a new addition, being held weekly on Thursdays, from 4-7 p.m., starting April 14th of this year near Centennial Park, at the corner of Carolina and 5th Street.
“Since moving to the 100 block of East Carolina Avenue, the downtown merchants have enjoyed higher traffic and sales, and realize this is truly a gathering of community and fellowship, filled with strollers, dogs on leashes, young families, face painting, sidewalk chalk and live entertainment,” states Suzy Moyd, Executive Director of Main Street Hartsville, “We sent out a survey and asked people what day they would like their market, and people were passionate about wanting to keep this market, but add a produce and food products only option on a weeknight.
Thursdays won out, so we are thrilled to expand and have two markets in 2016!” The Hartsville Farmers Market features local produce, as well as handmade and homemade quality products made by local artisans. Farmers who are anchors in this market include Ovis Hills Farms, Anderson Organics, Sunny Cedar Farms and Le Farm. Also joining the market will be entertainment including live music from Hartsville’s own Frets & Necks, and cooking demonstrations from Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center and the Department of Social Services (DSS), so residents can learn about healthy, farm-to-fork type eating options that support our local farmers and agriculture.
“Hopefully, with the new restaurants coming to our downtown, we can start supplying local menus with things grown right here in Darlington County,” stated Moyd. Technology was another portion of the grant, so opt-in text-messaging service, “FarmFan” will also be implemented, and will help farmers and vendors stay connected with updates day-of market, as well as consumers getting real-time updates on all things available at the markets each week.
The Hartsville Market number for opt-in messaging will be: 843-755-HART. Portions of the grant have allowed for administration and outreach with a new Farmers Market Manager position, and other portions of the grant allow for programming for residents who have a South Carolina EBT card to be able to participate in SNAP’s “Healthy Bucks” program, to purchase increased amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well. There is yet another portion of the grant that is dedicated to marketing to demographics that may not be aware of the markets via promotions and advertising.
The Centennial Farmers Market will feature only fresh, locally sourced foods like organic blueberries from Le Farm, or free-range eggs from Anderson Organics. Owner Chris Anderson is more than excited about the new weekly market. “Being able to share my products with those in Hartsville every week is something that I have looked forward to for a long time,” he said. Outreach efforts have started, so if you would like to be part of this year’s markets, or have any questions, contact: farmers.market@ hartsvillesc.gov