By Thea Toocheck, Staff Writer
If you ever stroll through town on a Saturday morning between April and October, you’ll be hard-pressed to miss all the tents that crop up both in the square and at the Gettysburg Transit Center. If you’re curious enough to investigate, you’ll find that you’ve discovered the two farmers’ markets of Gettysburg.
The market in Lincoln Square is the Gettysburg Farmers’ Market, which is held 7:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. on Saturdays late April through late October. According to the Market’s website, “the Gettysburg Farmers’ Market Association was created in 1991 to bring an economically efficient, relaxing, and pleasant farmers’ market experience to Lincoln Square.”
Indeed, while walking through the square, vendors selling everything from jam to yarn to yogurt smile at you. A man selling apple cider offered me a sample, and I walked away with a half-gallon of the delicious drink. The cider and all the other products at the market were made by local growers and producers.
The market at the Transit Center is also comprised of cheerful local vendors and runs May through October on Thursdays 2:00-6:00 p.m. and on Saturdays 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
This market is run by the Adams County Farmers’ Market Association (ACFMA), a non-profit whose mission Market Manager Reza Djalal described as “two-fold”: to help bring fresh, local produce to low-income families in the area and to have programs to help local agriculturalists, farmers, and entrepreneurs.
ACFMA runs on grants and fundraising; Djalal was proud to say that they recently received a grant from the USDA for almost $30,000. Much of this money is used to help people in the community. Some is channeled into their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program, the system formerly known as food stamps, in which locals can exchange EBT for market currency. While local produce can be expensive, EBT makes nutritionally good food easier to buy for those who need it.
In addition, the state Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program lets senior citizens exchange points for market currency. This is one example of ACFMA’s many community partnerships, in this case the Office for the Aging.
The two markets used to be under one umbrella but split when the decision of whether to accept EBTs became a point of contention. Djalal remarks that Gettysburg is a great town but “we’re not huge,” and cites the existence of two markets as a “this town ain’t big enough for the two of us” sort of situation. However, he hopes that “an olive branch” can be extended in the future and that, following ACFMA’s desire to make connections throughout the county, they can “build bridges through all of the community.”
One “bridge” is ACFMA’s connection to Gettysburg College. Kim Davidson, Director of the Center for Public Service, sits on the Board of Directors for ACFMA.
“Kim is an inspiration to me. Kim is awesome,” Djalal told me. While this is his first season as Market Manager, Djalal is clearly passionate about ACFMA’s mission.
He also mentioned the hard work and dedication of Katie Mercer ‘21, CPS Program Coordinator for the Farmers; Market. She brought to attention the Fall Fest taking place at ACFMA on Saturday, which will include food, music, and games. Gettysburg students who present their IDs will receive a $5 market coupon, which is both a great deal and a great way to support the local community.
I left both markets pleased with the friendly conversations I’d had and the many apple products I’d purchased in celebration of the arrival of fall. This arrival, however, means that both markets will be closing at the end of the month. So make sure to get out and support the community and visit one or both of Gettysburg’s farmers’ markets this weekend!