A very tasty celebration


Charles Warner | The Union Daily Times
A group of watermelon lovers enjoy slices of watermelon during the Grand Opening of the Farmers Market on East Main Street Saturday morning. The picnic tables they are sitting on were paid for with funds raised by Leadership Union and built with labor provided by the Union County Detention Center.

Charles Warner | The Union Daily Times
Shoppers check out the produce available at the Farmers Market Saturday morning. The market, located at 529 East Main St., Union, had its Grand Opening Saturday morning. The new location provides the market with increased visibility and additional parking. The facility is located between the Union County YMCA and the Union County School District’s Adult Education Center.

Charles Warner | The Union Daily Times
Farmers Dennis Pridemore (far left), Mikin Robinson (left), Allen Mull (right), and City of Union Mayor Harold Thompson (far right) take part in the "Watermelon Cutting Ceremony" during the Grand Opening of the new Farmers Market Saturday morning. Usually when there’s a grand opening, a ribbon is cut, but in keeping with the agricultural purpose of the Farmers Market, watermelons were cut instead of a ribbon during Saturday’s ceremony. Those present then helped themselves to the slices of watermelon carved up by the farmers and the mayor.

Charles Warner | The Union Daily Times
There was plenty of watermelon to go around at Saturday’s Grand Opening of the new Farmers Market at 529 East Main Street. The Farmers Market relocated to its new Main Street site between the Union County YMCA and the Union County School District’s Adult Education Center from its old location on North Mountain Street. The new facility was built by the City of Union to provide the Farmers Market with increased visibility and additional parking.

Charles Warner | The Union Daily Times
Noah Benjamin Grimes was among those who attended Saturday’s Grand Opening of the new Farmers Market which was celebrated with a "Watermelon Cutting Ceremony." Like many of the rest of those attending the Grand Opening, Noah’s favorite part of the event was eating the slices of watermelon cut to formally open the Farmers Market. A good, nutritious time was had by all.

Charles Warner | The Union Daily Times
Produce grown by local farmers is available for sale Monday-Saturday from 6 a.m.-noon at the Farmers Market, 529 East Main St. Union.

Charles Warner | The Union Daily Times
Peaches are among the local produce for sale at the Farmers Market, 529 East Main St. Union. The Farmers Market is open Monday-Saturday from 6 a.m.-noon.

UNION — The Farmers Market had its Grand Opening Saturday morning and those in attendance had a good, tasty and nutritious time dining on the results of the “Watermelon Cutting Ceremony.”

The Farmers Market is now located at 529 East Main St., Union, between the Union County YMCA and the Union County School District’s Adult Education Center. It was previously located on North Mountain Street, but relocated to its current location after the City of Union provided it with a new facility that increased its visibility and provided it with additional parking.

On Saturday, a Grand Opening Celebration for the Farmers Market at its new location was held, the centerpiece of which was a “Watermelon Cutting Ceremony.” Farmers Dennis Pridemore, Mike Robinson, and Allen Mull, together with City of Union Mayor Harold Thompson and Union City Councilman Tommy Anthony sliced up a number of watermelons to formally open the Farmers Market.

Union County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Torance Inman said that a watermelon cutting ceremony was held instead of a more traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony to emphasize the agricultural orientation of the Farmers Market. The Farmers Market provides Union County farmers with a facility to sell their locally grown produce while providing local residents with an opportunity to purchase fresh produce and support local farmers.

Once the watermelons were cut, the best part of the ceremony — eating the watermelons — began with many of those present helping themselves to one or more slices.

The ceremony was held at 11 a.m., but the Farmers Market itself had been open since 6 a.m. and Inman said the turnout was good. He said this was not only due to the ceremony, but to the location of the Farmers Market.

“Saturday’s grand opening was more than expected in terms of turnout and sales for the farmers,” Inman said Monday morning. “The new location gives the Farmers Market more visibility and accessibility.”

Inman thanked the City of Union for providing the Farmers Market with the site and the needed infrastructure.

“The City of Union provided the space and also invested in the asphalt in the parking area; sidewalk for the customers; and provided water and power for the market,” Inman said. “So a huge thank you to the City of Union.”

Mayor Harold Thomson said Monday that he was happy that the city was able to help provide the Farmers Market with a new location and the supporting infrastructure.

“I’m extremely excited that that the city was able to go in and help the farmers display and sell their local products,” Thompson said. “I think the location is excellent because we have a lot of foot traffic and people coming over from the Y.

“I’ve talked with them (the farmers) and I hope in the future we can add to it and and improve it,” he said. “I’m happy to have input from them.”

Thompson thanked Inman and the farmers for making the process go smoothly.

“I want to thank Torance and the farmers because from start to finish, everything went smooth,” Thompson said. “We didn’t have any issues and I’m just excited about where we’re headed.”

The new site also has benches, picnic tables and signs which Inman said were built through the collaborative efforts of Leadership Union and the Union County Detention Center.

“The benches, picnic tables and signage were provided by Leadership Union,” Inman said. “They chose the Farmers Market as their project for the Class of 2015. They sought contributions and donations from local businesses and groups to generate the monies.”

Inman said the Union County Detention Center provided the labor for the building and installation of the benches and picnic tables. He thanked Union County Detention Center Director Niel McKeown and the center’s staff and inmates for their efforts as well as the members of Leadership Union for their fundraising.

As for the future, Inman and Thompson both expressed the hope that additions and improvements can be made to the site such as a covered shed. Thompson said it is hoped that a covered shed could be built and in place by next season.

The Farmers Market is open from 6 a.m.-noon Monday-Saturday and Inman encouraged local farmers to take advantage of the facility to market their crops.

“We encourage anyone who has a small or large farm to participate in the Farmers Market,” Inman said. “In order to participate in the Farmers Market, individuals need to obtain a permit. The Chamber of Commerce provides administrative support for the farmers and you can obtain a permit here at the chamber at 135 West Main Street.”

The Union County Chamber of Commerce is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information call 864-427-9039.

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