From the Fields and Farms of Nature’s Mountain Playground — Check Out the Pocahontas County Farmers Market  

By Michael Moore 

As a full-time eater and part-time fan of more than a few of the countless cooking shows afforded us today, I’ve noticed an eccentricity within the culinary world I struggle to grasp. Why is it nearly every cooking program seems to have been turned into a life and death competition? “Remember contestants, if you don’t make it past this round, I’ll just remind you now, we’ll be lopping off your left arm during the commercial break.” I thought cooking was meant to be fun; a leisurely experience shared with those we love. A backyard family barbecue with dad at the helm of the grill, promising burgers at no specific time, and everyone somehow okay with that. Instead, I continue to stumble on programs featuring perspiring, hand-wringing chefs standing before a firing squad of award-winning culinary masters barking out commands to work faster and “mind those knife skills;” all while an intimidating, big red clock counts down to zero with the apparent, concluding wallop of the 1929 stock market crash. And throughout this frenzied melee and barrage of flying demands, these struggling contestants seem capable of only answering back, no matter the decree, with a submissive, “Yes Chef.” Why would anyone put themselves through that?

Other foodie concepts are far easier for me to wrap my mind around. For instance, a phrase I hear quite often on any number of my favorite traveling/cooking shows is known as “farm-to-table.” Now, this is an idea I can easily understand and wholeheartedly support. The farm-to-table notion (actually, it has grown into a bit of a social movement) stems from the question, “What if restaurants used locally grown food sourced directly from local producers?” In other words, obtain the food grown by your local farmers, on their local farms, and serve it in your hometown restaurants and eateries as well as making it available at your local fruit market and farm stands. Fruits and vegetables offered in this fashion essentially cut out the middleman, eliminate long delivery times, and limit the number of folks handling your food. Add to that the further benefit of the freshest produce possible, and this is an idea that makes perfect sense to me. A conclusion I came to quite on my own, I might add, without a James Beard Award-winning chef yelling at me.

Now, if you appreciate the benefits of the farm-to-table concept and like the idea of actually meeting the good people growing the food you’re eating, then you definitely don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to visit the farmers market here in Nature’s Mountain Playground. From mid-May to early October, many of our Pocahontas County farmers come together to set before the public the finest bounty of seasonal vegetables and seasonal fruit found anywhere in the county. To make the offering of fresh produce even more attractive (and possibly answer the question, “Gosh, I wonder if there’s a Farmers Market near me?”), the market’s produce stands alternate between four different locations throughout the county, ensuring a marketplace close to home at least once a month. And for our summer guests here for a week or just a weekend, what a great excuse to get out and see more of the county while supporting our local farmers.

So, let’s take a look at where and when you can find the Pocahontas County Farmers Market. The farmers market will operate at four different locations this summer. On Wednesdays, the market will be operating in Greenbank and Hillsboro from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays in Linwood and Marlinton with the same hours of 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The only exception will be Fridays, in Marlinton, when the market dates coincide with a Marlinton First Fridays event (held on the first Friday of the month, hence the name). In that case, the farmers market will remain open until 7 p.m., giving you extra time to enjoy the fun of First Fridays and still get some shopping in at the market. Each of the four host towns will have an official kick-off day for the farmers market, so be sure to mark your calendar for one or all of them. The first kick-off will be held in Greenbank, Wednesday, May 18, at the Greenbank Fire Hall. This is the big opener of the entire Pocahontas County Farmers Market season and will feature live music performed by Wyatt Turner. The next kick-off date is Friday, May 20, in Marlinton, followed by the third kick-off Friday, June 3, at Linwood. The fourth kick-off will take place on Wednesday, June 8, in Hillsboro. To learn more about the Pocahontas County Farmers Market be sure to visit their Facebook page for all the latest news and updates. 

Whether it’s fresh tomatoes, lettuce, green onions, or ripe, juicy fruit, each market will feature the very best fresh fruits and vegetables our West Virginia farmers have to offer, as well as a few surprises from our local artisans. So, if you’re looking for a great way to support West Virginia farms and the local agriculture of Pocahontas County, as well as stock up on some fresh produce, why not check out the Pocahontas County Farmers Market this summer? It’s a great way to get out and meet some of the friendliest folks in the county while enjoying all that Nature’s Mountain Playground has to offer. And we promise, no big red clocks counting down to zero.