UPDATE: Residents step-up, buy local after Capitol Market opens outdoor farmer’s market

West Virginia News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – 4/28/2020 9:20 p.m. UPDATE: Two weeks ago, we told you about one of the first local businesses opening up during the pandemic. Capitol Market’s outdoor market was flourishing with customers Tuesday afternoon.

“I just love the farmer’s market I always have,” Rhonda Archibald, a Capitol Market Customer.

Many people feel the same way as Rhonda, they love Capitol Market’s outdoor market and are excited to have a local business open. Executive Director Nichole Greene-Jenkins said despite the uncertain times, there has been a surprising boom in business.

“We did have one vendor during that first weekend of opening that they were here officially say it was actually one of their best openings ever,” says Greene-Jenkins.

It seems the community has recognized the call to action to buy local and responded in numbers.

“Even though the conditions are a little unfortunate this time of year with the virus going around the market has actually been thriving and we have had increased business with the weather turning nice,” says Kelly Irvine with Gritt’s Midway Greenhouse.

Irvine says the boost in business was unexpected, but she thinks residents are now realizing the importance of knowing where their food comes from, “customers are really loving the fact that our tomato products are our lettuce are locally grown and we can tell them exactly where it comes from, how it grows that way they know what food is going on their tables and going into their bodies.”

Greene-Jenkins adds, “think many folks are turning back to this old way of knowing who grew your food, having that relationship with your farmer who touched that plant in Putnam county or wherever it came from in West Virginia … I think that might be a positive thing to come out of this.”

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – 4/16/2020 8:00 a.m. ORIGINAL STORY: When you arrive at Capitol Market things will look a little different. A sign now hangs by the entrance listing new health and safety guidelines. The staff greets you wearing masks and a sanitized cart and explain the rules set up for safety reasons, like using the hand sanitizing stations and only touching what you plan on buying.

These easy steps offer the public a chance to enjoy the sights and sounds of Capitol Market – while supporting local businesses.

“It’s very important to buy local to know where your food is coming from, to support local people in your community that lives here and works here especially those smaller businesses who some of them are unfortunately struggling right now,” Chris Knorr of Gritt’s Midway Greenhouse tells 13 News.

Another benefit is talking directly to the people growing your food and knowing how many hands it’s passed through.

“When we pack our produce sometimes we do some of the assemblies of the baskets here right now for one less people to handle them they are packing them in the greenhouses,” Knorr adds.

The farm-to-table “pick your own” option even gives the stand owners a comfort.

“It’s one of the things that I think more people would feel more comfortable with being outside and having a little more room to breath around them,” Knorr says.

The decision to open the outdoor market came with lengthy discussions between the city, county and even first responders. Today the National Guard checked in on the opening and even offered tips like having more electronic pay options to cut down on exchanging of cash

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