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Farmers’ Market back in action

It doesn’t matter if you call it the Newton Farmers’ Market or the Jasper County Farmers’ Market. The fact of the matter is that it is back, and with it the opportunity for citizens to purchase quality goods directly from the source.

The Farmers’ Market will be held in the Centre for Arts & Artists parking lot, located at 501 W. Third St. N. in Newton, lot every Tuesday from 4 to 6 p.m. from now until the last week of September.

Diane Martinson, the market’s manager, is hoping for one thing this year.

“Seventy-eight degrees and sunshine, perfect weather,” Diane said before a laugh.

Much like with farmers themselves, Mother Nature can wreak havoc on a business that’s based outdoors and is dependent on clear skies and nice temperatures.

“It’s been several years ago, but I think one year out of the first nine weeks it rained, six Tuesdays,” Diane said. “The people at work would look out the window and go, ‘Oh, it’s raining. It must be Tuesday.’”

Hopes for perfect weather aside, Diane is excited for the 2014 season of the Farmers’ Market. She said they have a new vendor this year that makes skin care products out of goat’s milk. She also indicated a number of the market’s usual vendors are returning and provided a list:

• Linda Birkenholtz and Gwen Churchill will be selling homemade baked goods.

• Once the corn crop comes in, John Brandhof will be selling sweet corn and other assorted fruits and vegetables.

• Cameron Keller will be selling Artisan breads.

• Linda Miller will have baked goods and craft items for sale.

• Deana Rafferty-Cook is the aforementioned provider of goat’s milk products, and she also will be selling vegan soaps.

• Lance and Jana Shrycock will be selling produce, plants and baked goods.

• The Smokin’ Mississippi Queen Bar-B-Que owners Steve and Maggie Wilcox will be there along with their newer venture, Sweet Willy’s Kettle Corn.

• Nancy Woody, owner of Nancy’s Jams and Jellies, will be providing her usual assortment of uniquely flavored homemade jams and jellies as well as crotched towels.

• Chuoa Yang and Bla Ying Yang will each man booths containing assorted fruits and vegetables.

• Diane shared what she felt were the benefits of shopping at a farmers’ market and why it’s a sensible choice.

“You’re looking right in the eye of the person that makes those products, or they grow it and you’re looking right at them,” Diane said. “How’s that saying go: ‘Know your food, know your farmer.’”

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