Locally Grown Nelson Opens in March

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By Kathy Johnson

“Buy Fresh-Buy Local” has become a mantra for those seeking fresh foods and some control over the products they feed their family. In Nelson County, another group stepping up to provide fresh local produce, value-added farm products, crafts, meat, eggs and live plants is “Locally Grown Nelson.”

This new online “farmers” market will open for sales on Saturday, March 14 at 8 p.m. That time is right: 8 p.m. Here’s how it will work. Customers may log on at www.nelson.locallygrown.net to see what vendors are offering that week. After reviewing the week’s items, customers can place their order (by Monday at 8 p.m.).

When the market closes at 8 p.m. Monday, market manager Jessie Carter will email the growers and vendors a list of their sales. On Wednesday by 3 p.m., vendors will drop off their sold items at the Rockfish Valley Community Center (located on Route 151 about 8 miles from Rt. 250). Customers will then stop by between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. to pick up their goods and pay. A small fee is charged each vendor for their participation. Purchasers only pay for their products.

Items might include bulk breakfast sausage, unique centerpiece arrangements, a “decadent” chocolate cake, a pair of handcrafted sterling silver earrings, fresh chickens, lamb, pork, eggs, live plants, seed-starting and, in season, fresh fruits and vegetables.

At press time the “market” offered eight arts and crafts items, seven different baked goods and 12 meat products. Items may be from one or 15 different vendors. There is also local delivery available for those interested in that service.

The website encourages vendors to supply photos of the goods being sold and while the market was established primarily for Nelson County producers, Carter said she would accept growers and vendors from Albemarle or Augusta Counties provided they were within a 25-mile radius from the county line.

While the market is just getting started, Carter has already lined up a good selection of vendors including Heritage Oak Farm (a small family farm with free range chickens and fresh eggs); Wild Oats Farm (a “conservation farm” offering pork and lamb); Bonibleaux Designs (paper-crafted gifts and altered art); and Childs Greenhouse (unusual plants, herbs and seed-starting). Other current vendors include Josie May’s Homemade Cookies, Enchanted Elm Designs, Carter Homestead, Dickie Brothers, Claudia Gibson Catering, the Nelke Farm and Pharsalia Events.

Shopping online at the market, customers have the opportunity to read more about the items they are buying. Shopping at the Nelson Market offers fresh foods and products from people you know. Many of the vendors have their own websites where customers can find out more about how they grow what they grow, chemical usage, and what crafts or baked items they carry.