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How to Grow a Market

April 15, 2013

As word has begun to spread about The Wild Ramp Market, people in other areas are watching and wondering how we do it. We were recognized at the West Virginia Small Farms Conference a couple of months ago as the Innovative Market of the Year.  The Wild Ramp Market IS very different.Innovative Market award

Saturday, at the Spring Fling, some of our Producers shared their plant starts and had them for sale. People came (thank you! thank you! thank you!) and purchased commodity futures! No, not some high financial deal working with railroad carloads of foodstuff, but a strawberry plant here, a tomato plant there. And so, more people will be growing and enjoying freshly picked produce. Yum.  Have patience, plant it right, learn how to keep bugs away, water appropriately and you will enjoy enjoy enjoy.DSC_0006

A lot of new people became aware of how special The Wild Ramp Market is. All of us enjoyed explaining the map with the circles that show so very clearly where our Producers are located. mapThe fact that most of them are within 50 miles of Huntington became very clear once we got their locations mapped. We ARE a local food market!!! We know our farmers and our food tastes great!DSC_0018

Noelle Horsfield’s wonderful art is now gracing the wall behind the check-out counter. I wrote about Noelle and showed some hints of what she was producing (https://wildramp.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/visual-appeal/ )back in September, but even I am blown away by the three-dimensional aspect of her ceramic carrots and more.  Check out the Visual-Appeal blog entry and then come into the shop to see, in person, what this photo is inadequate to show.DSC_0014

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Several of us involved deeply with The Wild Ramp have made presentations to other groups interested in duplicating our market model. I have spoken to economic development groups in both Jefferson and Hampshire Counties.  Shepherdstown and Romney are competitive so it will be interesting to watch how they can put their concept to action. They have their market locations identified and each has unique concepts. Lucky people living nearby!coop

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~There are several points I try to make in my presentation that are important:

1-An indoor year-round local market does not take away anything from the once or twice a week seasonal farmers’ market in the area. Many of our Producers are active in both types of settings and recognize the pros and cons of each system. Both types of markets CAN successfully co-exist.

2-The Wild Ramp, unlike most markets currently existing nor any we know that are in the planning process, is COMMUNITY driven and run, not by a government office but by individual PEOPLE with a common goal. Perhaps, this is what enabled us to move from a concept in February 2012 to opening in July 2012. We were not bogged down by reports and meetings….we acted. Yes, we had to meet all governmental guidelines and rules. But we had and still enjoy one asset that is needed above all others: PASSION.passion

Passion is the driving force in any successful endeavor. Thank you one and all! We need all of you….our Volunteers, our Producers, and our Consumers….and there are a few individuals who are a three-in-one-package. That’s what passion can do.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2013 3:14 am

    Great post. I have always thought your market model was innovative and with lots of potential for duplication. I am not much of an initiator, but I have begun talking it up with some of my friends on the Feast committee…maybe someday. I too love the ceramic sign – simply beautiful. Your second point in your presentations to communities interested in this type of market really remind me of Pam of Incredible Edible Todmorden, who makes very much the same point.

    • April 16, 2013 10:37 am

      So many of us here recognize the value of this market, and it is THAT understanding that makes it work. Also surprises me how many people who have never been there see it as elitist and continue to eat junk food, as if the concept of supporting local farmers means you never will eat a Twinkie again……

    • April 16, 2013 5:08 pm

      I have been making presentations to groups who want to consider an indoor-year-round market…..I don’t know the size of your community. Huntington has just under 50K population and people drive an hour to shop at The Wild Ramp because of the wonderful food

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