Mount Washington Farmers' Market ranks second in Kentucky in national contest
- By Chris Aldridge
- Kentucky Agricultural News
MOUNT WASHINGTON, Ky. -- DJ Bowen excitedly pulled out her smartphone and proudly showed a visitor that the Mount Washington Farmers’ Market ranks second in Kentucky (as of July 30) as the most-endorsed “people’s choice” market.
“I keep telling people that we have the best farmers’ market in Kentucky,” said Bowen, who works in community development for the city of Mount Washington, which lies just southeast of Louisville.
Receiving the second-most votes (140) in the state places the Bullitt County market 14th in the Southeast and 38th nationally in American Farmland Trust’s 13th annual America’s Farmers’ Market Celebration. The winner will be awarded $2,500, the runner-up will receive $1,500, and third place will get $1,000. The funds will go toward marketing, communications, and other needs that help expand the market’s reach and impact.
“It’s not about the money,” Bowen said. “I just want to win!”
The competition is on-going. Votes are still being accepted for favorite farmers’ market at https://markets.farmland.org.
This week, Aug. 1-7, is Kentucky Farmers’ Markets Week. To cap off the week on Saturday, Aug. 7, Mount Washington Farmers’ Market is planning several activities to entertain children while their parents shop for fresh produce, baked goods, and raw local honey, jams, and jellies. In addition to the weekly “Story with Lori” at 10 a.m., which includes free snacks for the kids, the market is planning to have a farm tractor to explore, free face painting, and crafts.
Mount Washington Farmers’ Market is in its 11th year. “It started across the street on that little dirt lot,” Bowen said, pointing to the vacant space beside Peoples Bank near downtown.
In August 2016, the construction of City Plaza Pavilion at 320 N. Bardstown Road moved the market under an ornate brick shelter with ceiling fans and restrooms.
The market is open 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays and 4-7 p.m. Wednesdays.
“Four years ago, we averaged maybe 100 customers on Wednesdays and 300 on Saturdays,” Bowen said. “Now, we have 300 at least on Wednesdays; and Saturdays, we normally average 900. Before the pandemic, we had 1,300.
“We started a little slow this year at 700-750 on Saturdays,” she added. “But it’s gonna pick up with corn coming in. Corn and tomatoes are our big sellers.”
Shady Lane Farm, which has been a vendor for all 11 years, dominates the market by taking up about a quarter of the sheltered space with its varied selection of fresh produce, baked goods, homemade pickles, jams, and jellies. The Kentucky Proud farm, which operates a popular u-pick pumpkin patch every fall, has been family owned since 1898.
Shady Lane owners Todd and Kelly Smith also offer cheeseburgers and pork burgers – Todd grills while Kelly dresses the burgers to order. Other items on the menu are hot dogs, baked beans, and potato salad.
The farmers’ market is a popular dinner spot for some locals. Bowen greeted one family that enjoys dinner around the same round table every Wednesday evening. For dessert, there are three difficult choices: seven varieties of fruit-filled crepes, including best-seller triple berry, from The Dessert Studio; a selection of fresh made-from-scratch cookies from Louisville-based Lil Bit of Sweets, whose chocolate chip cookies quickly sell out; or gluten-free treats such as dairy-free triple chocolate brownies and a selection of muffins and breads from Kentucky Proud member Heavenly Acres Farm & Sweets.
Other offerings include:
- Fresh cut flowers from Kentucky Proud member Fleur de Luna;
- Fresh vegetables and flowers from Homegrown By Heroes and Kentucky Proud vendor Stamper Family Farm near Cox’s Creek;
- Organic produce, herbs, and spices from Kentucky Proud member Elliott Brothers Farm near Shepherdsville;
- Country ham, spicy pickles, salsa, barbecue sauce, and other items from Kentucky Proud member Hillbilly Gourmet in Louisville;
- Microgreens that you can sample and handmade baskets from Hillstead Farms near Taylorsville; and
- Kettle corn (Saturdays only) cooked before your eyes by Hwy 44 Kettle.
For more information about the Mount Washington Farmers’ Market, go to its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mwfarmersmarket. Or to find a market near you, go www.kyagr.com/marketing/farmers-market.html and click on “Farmers’ Market Directory” under “Additional Links.”