Booming sales at Corporate Area farmers’ market
Despite travelling with a carload of produce, Glenroy Crossman had no trouble finding customers at last Friday's farmers' market held at the Agriculture Ministry's Hope Gardens playing field.
The farmer from East Kirkland Heights, St Andrew, had brought a carload of mainly fruits and vegetables including lettuce, cantaloupe, water melon, pineapple, scallion, and pak choi.
The day's sales began at 8 a.m. and by little after noon, Crossman's stock was sold out.
Crossman was one of several farmers assembled for the market organised by the Kingston and St Andrew Association of Branch Societies (ABS) of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), in collaboration with the Agriculture Ministry, and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).
"This morning, I came with my car full and now it is empty. This is my third farmers' market and it is the best one so far," he told JIS News.
Potato farmer from Content Gap, Stafford Miller, who was attending the farmers' market for the first time, was also pleasantly surprised by the booming sales.
He told JIS News that he had learned about the event through a RADA extension officer.
"The produce has been moving very nicely and I get support from RADA. I get potato and other seeds from RADA and they try to assist in any way they can," he noted.
President of the Kingston and St Andrew ABS, Albert Green, told JIS News that with the cancellation of the annual Agrofest in May, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the organisation is staging a series of monthly farmers' markets to help farmers distribute excess produce.
He said that the events also seek to showcase the variety of produce available in the Kingston and St Andrew region.
"We are doing 'mini Agrofests'. We are planning to have this every month once the stock is there. We will partner with RADA and the Ministry of Agriculture; it will continue until the farmers say when. Our decision is driven by the farmers," he said.
He said that the next market would be staged in August.
Green said that the farmers' market concept has become very popular among consumers because of its ease of accessibility, high-quality produce sold at reasonable prices, and it better facilitates social distancing.
He said the farmers' market were organised to assist farmers to offload their produce.
"Patrons like what is happening here and they are asking for more. It is our intention to provide service that assists our farmers and satisfies buyers' demand. The customers are responding very well," he told JIS News.
At Friday's market, which ended at 3 p.m., patrons were able to purchase farm produce at attractive prices from approximately 15 farmers' booths. Special sale items included a flat of 30 eggs for $500, and fruit and vegetable baskets for $1, 200.