Statesboro residents won’t have to wait until Saturday to “meet the farmer who grows food for their supper” when the Mainstreet Statesboro Farmers Market begins its Tuesday evening market tonight.
The market will be held in the Sea Island Bank parking lot, the same location as its Saturday market, on Tuesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., focusing on meats and produce from local farmers in an effort to provide a shopping option for downtown residents.
Arts and crafts vendors present at the Saturday market won’t be at the weekday event, but live entertainment will be provided.
Farmers come together to sell their fresh produce, meat, eggs, honey, and even herbs on Saturday mornings at the Mainstreet Farmers Market. Expanding to twice a week will enable the market to reach a new demographic of people who live and work downtown, said Debra W. Chester, market manager for the Farmers Market.
“The whole idea is to make it a pleasant grocery shopping experience,” Chester said. “It’s convenient, there are no lines and you get to meet the farmer who grows your food.”
Since its creation three years ago, the Farmers Market has doubled in size, creating the demand for the Tuesday market.
“The farmers will support a Tuesday evening market as long as the shoppers do,” Chester said. “The more shoppers we have, the more farmers and products will be available.”
While some consumers may fear that buying food directly from a farm is expensive, Chester called the market budget-friendly, as it now accepts EBT payments.
“There is this misconception that the food is expensive, but it’s not because you don’t have a middle man,” Chester said. “You buy the food directly from the farmer.”
For Chester, the market is about more than fresh food; it means a boost in downtown Statesboro’s economy from the 700 people who shop at the market on average each week.
When farmers from neighboring counties sell their products at the market, they attract customers from their county to downtown Statesboro, further adding to the local economy, Chester said.
“The market gives another venue for [farmers] to sell in a competitive market,” Chester said. “It’s a win for the consumer to get fresh food that’s safe because they know where it came from, and it’s a win, win for the local economy because our money is staying local.”