When asked to describe Bridgeport Farmers Market (BFM) in three words, Debbie Workman gave nine. That should be a good indication of the kind of market she is running; so good that it can’t be narrowed down to just three words. Founded in 2009, the Bridgeport Farmers Market is one of the longest running organized farmers markets in West Virginia. When they began planning for the market in 2008, they didn’t feel like they had many examples to look towards when starting such a venture. Fast forward 12 years and BFM serves as a beacon for markets looking for helpful tips and advice on starting and maintaining a successful farmers market.
Bridgeport Farmers Market is also one of the most unique markets in West Virginia. What makes it so unique? Where to begin?! BFM hosts an average of 40 vendors at their weekly market ranging from farmers selling fresh fruits and vegetables, to artisans selling soap, and even high school english teachers writing personalized poetry. Yes, you read that correctly. Stop by the Bridgeport Farmers Market and see the Bards of Yellow Wood. Tell them a little about yourself or something going on in your life and they will write a personalized poem for you and have it completed while you finish your shopping. All they ask in return is a donation of a book for their high school library. Rumor has it they have collected over 4,000 books and hundreds of school supplies. Another staple at the market is live music. Workman says, “it really helps to set the tone and makes everyone feel good.” While they have a rotation of local musicians playing all genres of music, Workman declared ‘Paradise’ by John Prine and ‘Miss June’ by Ben Bullington to be the theme songs of Bridgeport Farmers Market.
Bridgeport Farmers Market prides themselves on being a destination market. In the past, they have hosted events such as cooking exhibitions where local chefs buy goods from the market and share delicious recipes while teaching attendees how to use items purchased at the market in their cooking. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on events like this one but Workman is looking forward to the day when a sense of normalcy can resume. Until then, BFM has planned plenty of socially distanced events for the upcoming market season including two food trucks offering a special brunch menu and the return of a handful of artisan vendors. Not only are the artisans back, but they will be hosting demonstrations on how they make their goods. Bridgeport Farmers Market is definitely a place to check out this market season!
Oh, and the nine words Debbie used to describe the market? She looked to the Bards of Yellow Wood for that one, to which they replied:
Speaking from my heart- enchanting, bountiful, gathering
Speaking from my memory- wind, music, lettuce
Speaking from my poet soul- leisure, labor, and love.
The Bridgeport Farmers Market is truly a destination market in West Virginia. Join them as they kick off their outdoor market season this Sunday, May 16! It is sure to be a great time. When you aren’t strolling through the market, be sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram. There you will find a sneak peak of all the good times you can expect to find at the next market. Bridgeport Farmers Market is open every Sunday until October 10 from 10am-1pm.