New farmers market effort bearing fruit

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, August 11, 2009

MONTICELLO – Efforts to grow a farmers market in downtownMonticello seem to be bearing fruit.

The town has secured a $99,000 Rural Business Development Grantfor the purchase of the closed Malta’s Downtown Market on BroadStreet, said Mayor Dave Nichols.

The grant also covers the costs of some necessary repairs.

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“It’s mainly roof repairs, but if there’s any (money) left we’llbe able to do more,” he said.

The building will be leased and farmers market operated by KennyAustin’s Double A Farms of Lawrence and Jefferson Daviscounties.

An opening date remains unclear, Nichols said, because Austinwill have some remodeling of his own to complete once the city isdone with its repairs. However, Austin told the town he expects tobe open for fall crops.

Initial plans are for the market to be open from Monday throughSaturday with Double A Farms offering produce each day.

“Others will be able to bring their produce there three days aweek,” Nichols said.

The store is the second attempt by government officials to bringa farmers market to Monticello in recent years. The county moved tocreate a farmers market several years ago when it built the GivensAgricultural Building on F.E. Sellers Highway, but the venturefailed after only one year.

Nichols said he believes the concept was sound, but the buildingdesign caters more to equestrian pursuits and was not really suitedfor a farmers market. The new building layout will be solely forthe sale of produce and related products.