Friday, April 16, 2004

Farmers market to open soon

Seen as draw for stores along Dixie Highway

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

ERLANGER - The Dixie Farmers Market opens June 3 at the historic Erlanger Depot.

"(Northern Kentucky) farmers' markets normally operate in the morning hours," said Pendleton County farmer Dewey Peluso. "This one will cater to people on their way home from work in the afternoon.''

The Dixie Farmers Market will be the only farmers' market in Kenton County, said Bob Yoder, coordinator for the sponsoring Erlanger-Elsmere Renaissance program. It will draw growers from throughout the region and operate on Thursday afternoons through Oct. 28.

Ten Northern Kentucky farmers have agreed to be regular sellers at the Dixie Farmers Market. The market will feature more than a dozen fruits and vegetables, including farm fresh eggs, apples, sweet corn, tomatoes, green beans and pumpkins.

The site features restrooms, a gazebo for planned musical performances on "Market Days," playground equipment and a paved parking lot where growers can sell from the backs of pickup trucks or tables in a picnic shelter, Yoder said.

Besides meeting the needs of sellers and consumers, organizers expect the market just off Dixie Highway will generate business for other retailers.

"We see the farmers market as a way to draw more retail traffic to the busy Dixie corridor and make people think of Dixie Highway as a shopping destination," Yoder said.

Erlanger and Elsmere have a population of more than 24,000, and the average income in those cities is higher than Kenton County's, Kentucky's, and the United States, Yoder said.

Also, more than 28,000 vehicles travel Dixie Highway each day.

Gordon Venema, a farmer near the Carroll and Gallatin County line, is encouraged by the interest in the market.

"There seems to be a lot of support from the community, the city, the renaissance group and the businesses," Venema said. "That's really encouraging to us as farmers. It's one thing to grow the stuff, but if you haven't got a place to sell your (produce), you end up feeding it to the animals."


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