"I think there may be a misconception about the Paducah Farmers' Market," says Molly Tomasallo, Special Events Coordinator with the City of Paducah. "We're much more than a few booths with tomatoes and corn!"
A few years ago, the market was limited, attracting just a handful of weekly vendors. "There is so much more to it now," says Molly. "You can still get an amazing selection of fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to products like eggs, beef and pork, breads, flowers, and even soaps. It's become more of a homegrown market. We have local farmers, artists, and home goods producers."
Molly, who began her work on the expansion on the market in early 2014, quickly reached out the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, tapping in to their Kentucky Proud products campaign.
"I am amazed at what is out there," adds Molly. "And is definitely a regional thing. We're right here with all these bordering states, so we're getting visitors and vendors from outside of the immediate area.
"One of the most unique vendors is an alpaca farm from Southern Illinois. They are creating yarns and making things like hats and scarves to sell. We have another vendor who has over 500 varieties of handmade soaps. There are soy candles with essential oils, a couple of beef farms, and even locally farm-raised shrimp. It is certainly an eclectic mix."
The 2015 season runs from April to October, and this year's market features monthly celebration Saturdays. "This gives us some special days to add extras like live music, activities for the kids, and food sampling," says Molly. "We've had master gardeners speak and master food prep volunteers doing cooking demonstrations. For our grand opening, they did a wonderful strawberry bread pudding!"
Full market days are every Saturday from 7:30am to 3:30pm, with the best time to visit being between 9am and 1pm according to Molly.
"This has become a part of many people's Saturdays. There are so many things to see and experience, and it establishes direct relationships between consumers and producers. You meet the person who grew or created what you purchase. It is an incredible opportunity and experience for this community."
CELEBRATION SATURDAYS CONTINUE FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON!
July 25 - Celebrate national picnic month market style! Pack a lunch or buy some goodies at the market.
August 15 - It is the dog days of summer! Local dog adoption services will be on hand. Pet supply donations will be accepted, and animal education events are planned.
September 26 - Get ready to FALL into October with the Farmers' Market Fall Festival in conjunction with BBQ on the River
October 31- Halloween at the market on the final market day. Mid-November - Holiday market downtown TBA.