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The Springfield Farmer’s Market is making a move this week to expand and reach a new demographic. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore reports.
Reporter Standup: “Right now, I’m surrounded by radishes, strawberries, tomatoes, fresh basil, flowers, and a lot of other produce. I am in the Springfield Farmer’s Market, Missouri’s largest growers-only farmer’s market. Right now, the market meets just east of the Battlefield Mall, actually in the mall parking lot. It will continue to meet here on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday mornings. However, this week, it’s going to try a new experiment by opening up a new farmer’s market downtown.” Paul and Tammy Spangenberg travel from Republic to sell their fresh herbs at the market.“We have about 50 different varieties…some of the most popular are like the chocolate mint, pineapple sage, candy drop mints, cilantro, of course oregano, purple basil," he said.Paul says he will be setting up shop this Thursday afternoon at the downtown farmer’s market, which will run into the evening hours. It will be just east of Park Central Square, on the corner of Jefferson and St. Louis Street, and it will run from 3:30 to 7:00 p.m.“I think it’s going to be great…I think we’re gonna have a really good market. I think it will be a really good opportunity not only for vendors to sell more product, but for us to reach a whole different part of the community that we haven’t got before. And this year, we’re taking credit cards and the food stamp program. So we can help a lot of people out,” Spangenberg said.[Sound: customers asking about plants]Brad Gray is another vendor who lives just south of Fair Grove. He says he’s also thrilled about the new market…but some vendors have expressed concerns, he said.“I think the greatest concern is: is it going to be financially rewarding? Is it going to be worth our time? Are the residents going to support that market down there, and of course the professionals who work down there? We don’t know,” he said.Rusty Worley of the Urban District’s Alliance says the new location will have a pavilion to protect both vendors and customers from the wind and rain.“Hearing from the farmers here, they fry in the summer and they freeze in the winter. So having some protection for them would be really important. Also, having a long-term home for them to have as an identity: this particular location would provide that pavilion. It would provide permanent restrooms that they don’t have now. And also some green space,” he said.Worley said the history of the new spot is significant.“The Ozark Mountain Jubilee” was there at that site. Route 66 ran right through that. It was named right across the street. So, that opportunity, as we bring family and friend in to the market, they can also share a little bit of Springfield’s history,” he said.The Springfield Farmer’s Market is in its 33rd season, and offers fresh produce, USDA meats, raw honey, gourmet coffee, homemade baskets and more. The vendors come from Greene County and ten surrounding counties. For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.