Staunton/Augusta Farmers’ Market Reopens for Spring

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The Staunton/Augusta Farmers’ Market is back after a trying winter. While the nasty weather posed a challenge for crops, the community greeted vendors with enthusiasm Wednesday.

The great weather along with the fresh breads, produce and other goodies made it the perfect day to return for the season. For the vendors, farmers market season means more than just business.

"I quit my regular job, and this is my full-time job now, so I'm officially self-employed...Nothing just felt like a good fit until I started doing this, and it was just a lot more rewarding,” said one vendor, Amanda Rhodes.

Rhodes began baking with her family as a child, and now her passion has risen into a career.

"My mom used to bake. Growing up she taught me how to bake breads and all that kind of stuff. So I attribute a lot of my learning from her. She taught me everything I know,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes and the other vendors who gather at the market, on the corner of Byers and Johnson streets in downtown Staunton, get satisfaction from sharing their products, their livelihoods with visitors.

"I've known my customers for years. I've seen their children grow up. It's been great. You know people by name, you see them every week. And it's a very social, very fun, relaxing thing to do,” Rhodes said.

The manager for the Wednesday market, John Oakes, says after 15 years with the group, they've all become like family.

"It's kind of a social event, you know, everybody's friends and we have a good time,” Oakes said.

This year, the market will begin accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to equalize the turnout. First-time shopper Emily Punswick works with adults with special needs. She and the rest of her crew savored their experience.

"Be in the sun, and do something local, too. They're happy to be here and out and about,” Punswick said.

"It's good to be back. First of the season, meeting the customers again and people, old friends,” Oakes said.

Saturday is the big day for the Staunton/Augusta Farmers’ Market, when it runs from 7 a.m. to noon. Shoppers can expect 30 vendors, maybe some music, and all kinds of treats.