Columbia Farmers Market moves in preparation for new location
COLUMBIA – It's that time of year again... the spring farmers market is back, but this time at a temporary location so construction crews can start working on a new complex for it later this year.
Saturday's Spring Kickoff farmers market, and all of the other farmers markets for the next few months, was at the Parkade Center instead of the classic lot next to the Activity Recreation Center.
There were 35 vendors, selling things from vegetables to dairy to honey. The produce featured food from both the spring and fall seasons.
"We'll start seeing a lot of spring products: greens, some radishes and things like that," Columbia Farmers Market Executive Director Corrina Smith said. "You'll still see some storage props from last fall, winter, like sweet potatoes and squashes, onions."
The farmers market will move from Parkade to its new site, located in the same place as the old one right next to the ARC, after crews finish construction. The farmers market board doesn't have an exact date for when crews break ground, but once it gets started, it won't be too long until Columbia can see the finished product.
"We should have a contractor selected late March/early April, then some time mid-April to early May we'll break ground," Smith said. "We're estimating four to six months construction."
The new location has been years in the making. The farmers market partnered with the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture to get the funds necessary to start construction.
"Getting this project finally underway and completed in a timely manner, that's what everybody is looking forward to," President of the Farmers Market Board of Directors John Corn said. "Our temporary location is kind of make-do because we have a large group of vendors to provide a place for. It will be in the neighborhood of 80 plus that will be selling this year."
The farmers market says the benefits that come with the new building will be worth all the work.
One of the prominent features of the new structure is that it has a roof and roll-down walls to protect shoppers from the elements.
"We'll have a roof over our heads, we won't have to worry about rain or very sunny, hot July days or even snow," Smith said.
The farmers market will also be able hold more vendors than before.
The facility will also come with an outdoor nature playground where children can learn more about agriculture and nature, a multi-purpose building for all sorts of other events, and a new trail.
After the new farmers market complex is complete, vendors will be able to sell their products every Saturday of the year.
Until then, market-goers can find the Columbia farmers market at the Parkade Center off of I-70 Business Loop West every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.