More than 12 years ago, a discussion at a book club initiated the creation of the Ave. Farmers’ Market. Today, the market is a much-loved tradition that has brought unique food choices to the community, and helped launch several successful businesses that began out of the backs of trucks. The market opens Tuesday, May 2nd at 3 p.m. at and Oak avenues on the Village Green.

With about a dozen vendors offering organic, sustainably raised fruits, vegetables, eggs, and meats and carefully crafted cottage products, the Ave. Farmers’ Market has attracted foodies and locavores from Wyoming and beyond since 2007.

Organizer Penny Shore says the market has a loyal following of about 300 shoppers each week, the majority of whom are residents. It is a non-profit, producer-driven, volunteer-run business committed to offering locally produced products. Farmers come from a 90-mile radius and cottage producers from within 25 miles.

Shore and fellow resident Britt Hedges were two of the individuals who spearheaded the effort to get the market off the ground. In true Wyoming style, however, it was actually at a book club meeting where the idea was hatched.

Shore says resident Janice Weiser was among a group of residents who talked about the need for a market during a monthly book club gathering. Shore and Hedges were recruited during the initial planning, and the two became the faces of the project from then on.

“We had experience with farmers markets from living on the West Coast,” says Shore. “We knew what a little neighborhood market could look like.”

Giving Small Businesses a Platform

In Shore’s opinion, one of the biggest brags for the market over the past 10 years is its role in helping to launch several successful local food businesses, including Taste of Belgium, La Terza Artisan Coffee and Roasterie, Fireside Pizza, Five Star Foodies, Donna’s Gourmet Cookies, and Madisano’s Gelato. All of these growing companies used farmer’s markets, including Wyoming’s, to promote their brands and get off the ground. What for many started in the back of a truck has now grown into restaurants, storefronts and brands sold at regional grocery chains.

“I’m really proud that we’ve been able to serve as a local business incubator,” says Shore.

In honor of the 10th anniversary, market vendor Pet Wants will make a special donation to in Need in later this month. If you go to the market Tuesday, look for these vendors: 5 Oaks Organics, Backyard Orchard Inc., Carriage House Farm, Cook’s Farm, Crackling Crust, Donna’s Gourmet Cookies, Fireside Pizza, La Terza Artisan Coffee Roasterie, Lobenstein Farm, and PetWants.

Making guest appearances this week will be Vermont Gardens, selling plant starts, Wyoming Fine Arts Center, showcasing programs, and Wyoming’s Urban Forestry and Beautification Commission with a plant swap.