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Options eyed for year-round farmers’ market

The Warren County Commissioners are exploring a unique idea — essentially a year-round farmers’ market.

Commissioner Tricia Durbin said the board is exploring “whether a physical, year-round market would work in Warren.”

The idea came from an article featuring the Edinboro Market, which describes itself as providing “incubator space for local farmers, growers and producers to sell what they grow and to test new products that allow them to ‘grow’ their business” and where shoppers “can choose healthy, locally grown food and other products. This allows them to serve food at its peak nutritional value, while supporting our local economy.”

They also offer various classes for producers and growers.

Durbin said she, Commissioner Ben Kafferlin and Andy Sokolski had an initial meeting with the operators of that market “to think through what their business strategy is” to see if it is “something we can replicate.”

She said the Edinboro model is formed as a 501(c)(3) organization and said the group solicited producers within 150 miles, providing a space for them to sell their product.

“(It) seems to have gone very well,” Durbin said. “(There are) some unique identifiers that I think helps create a success of something like that. (We are) exploring if that’s an opportunity.

“I think it’s a novel concept,” she said.

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston described the idea as similar to Warren’s Second Avenue Exchange but for food.

“It’s a smart business model,” he said.

“It’s a lot more complex than it seems,” Durbin said. “(You) have to eliminate all the food that expires. Then you have to come up with a model that works from a sale perspective.”

She said one of the unique aspects of the Edinboro business is that she sells raw milk and that Kafferlin has identified a couple entities in the county that sell it, too. Durbin said the organizer in Edinboro said “people will come from over 100 miles to buy raw milk,” calling it “another angle that’s unique.”

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