MEIGS COUNTY FARMERS MARKET
A Place to Slow Down and
STORY AND VIDEO BY DELIA PALMISANO
Agriculture is an important part of the economy and way of life in Meigs County. Tucked into the Appalachian hills of Southeast Ohio, the area offers beautiful landscapes and a sense of community to visitors and residents alike.
According to Stephanie Rife, the Meigs County Farmers Market Manger, “Time slows down here a little bit. you can really just slow down and enjoy life–just take it all in.”
Rife has been the manager for the market since its inception in 2019. In that time she’s seen the market grow from just a few vendors to over 40. In her role she offers support and planning for the vendors and communicates with the county commissioners and mayor. “I make sure we’re all on the same page and united, because when we all have a part in this it just goes so much more beautifully,” she said.
As you walk through the market, you can purchase local produce and goods, watch live music, and cooking demonstrations and engage in kids activities. A general sense of friendship and community fills the market, which overlooks the Ohio River. “We get a lot of great feedback. The biggest thing is the joy on the parking lot. If you just walk through, you’ll hear it, you see it, a lot of smiles and a lot of joy. Everybody just comes together as a community and hangs out on Saturdays and enjoy each other,” she said.
The market became especially important in 2020 as a safe outdoor place to gather because COVID-19 kept people from socializing in more traditional ways. Extra precautions were taken to keep everyone safe, including masking and a handwashing station purchased with a seed grant from Ohio’s Winding Road (OWR.)
These micro-grants are designed to support the development, improvement, expansion, and marketing of local authentic experiences in the OWR region. The market received a second seed grant in 2021 to help support weekly musicians at the market.
“Musicians have had it hard in the past year,” Rife said. “All of their places were shut down and they weren’t able to make any money. Because of these grants, we were able to pay the musicians every week, which really made a difference in their lives,” she continued.
The farmers market works hard to encourage healthy eating and be inclusive. They accept Women Infants and Children (WIC) and seniors vouchers and have programs to support veterans and young entrepreneurs. She said, “There are great business all throughout Meigs county and it’s not just separate events. We’re really a destination to come and just relax for the weekend and enjoy the river and all that we have to offer here.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Delia Palmisano is the Multimedia Designer with ACEnet. Delia is a visual communicator and multimedia artist who believes in the power of storytelling. She feels a deep connection to the natural world and enjoys exploring the rolling hills of Appalachia with her husband and children.