After a long week mismatched meals and having to resort to food from the deep depths of my freezer, it was time to go out grocery shopping. Normally, I would have run down to one of the many chain grocery stores in Harrisonburg to pick up the necessities. But this week, I switched it up and went to the Harrisonburg Farmers Market and I am glad I did.

The Harrisonburg Farmers Market's Goal

The Harrisonburg Farmers Market has a long history of serving the Harrisonburg community with fresh and local food since the 1950's when it first got its start in the Harrisonburg Police Station parking lot. The market we know today, however, started in 1979 and found its current home in the downtown Turner Pavilion in 2008. With this new location, commitment to serve the JMU and local community healthy, fresh, and sustainable products is stronger than ever. 

Madison Pessel

The Harrisonburg Farmers Market is a year-round market that consists of only growers and producers that live within the neighboring communities of Rockingham County. This means that all of the products you buy at the market are made just a short drive away from your dorm or apartment. The products, as a result, taste better and contribute to the local economy. 

The People Behind the Market 

I had the privilege to connect with Josie Showalter, the market's manager, and our very own JMU community member, Sheila Crespy, who is working with the market as a part of her one of her classes at JMU,  to discuss the importance of the market to JMU's student body.

Madison Pessel

Josie and Sheila both agreed that the Harrisonburg Farmers Market not only provides great local and fresh products, but it bridges the gap between student and community member. 

"By shopping at the market, you get to meet your neighbors in the community that you wouldn't normally see on campus," says Sheila, "And you really get a sense of the diverse community that is here in the valley."

Madison Pessel

Josie underscored the importance of the market's close-knit community by explaining the passion all the vendors have to provide quality products to the local community.

"All of the individuals at the market provide infinitely better products that actually last longer." 

Madison Pessel

Josie and Sheila also agreed that because there is such a personal connection between grower and customer, shoppers at the market can feel good about knowing the exact growing practices that have gone into the food they are buying.

My Experience 

Madison Pessel

After chatting with Josie and Sheila, I did my own investigation and I fell in love with the market. All of the producers were kind and willing to explain their practices. Many of them even let me try their products before I bought them! And as Josie said, they actually tasted better than any of the chain store produce. 

Madison Pessel

I was so captivated by the Harrisonburg Farmers Market, I ended up doing my whole weeks worth of shopping there. You know what the best part of it was? All of the products were reasonably priced. I think I ended up saving money! I had less food waste at the end of the week because the products were staying fresher longer.

To Sum up... 

Madison Pessel

The Harrisonburg Farmers Market is a great way for JMU students to better connect with the food they're eating and the community around JMU. I will definitely be retuning to the Harrisonburg Farmers Market. 

To learn more about the Harrisonburg Farmers Market vendors and it's hours, check out their website, Facebook, and Insta!