As the school year gets underway, the Farmers’ Market in Downtown Washington usually sees a smaller crowd.
But Amanda Griesheimer, marketing director for the Washington Area of Chamber, which manages the market, said she hopes the Sprout Club for children will keep people coming in.
The produce vendors have remained consistent and the craft vendors vary each week, but Griesheimer said that’s normal. It’s the somewhat new childrens club that’s turning heads.
Now in its third year, the club is open to children ages 3-10.
The goal of the club is to introduce children to a variety of fresh, local produce while encouraging families to shop at the Washington Farmers’ Market, Griesheimer said.
“Children can then check in at the Sprouts table each market day and receive $2 in Sprout tokens, which can only be used for fresh produce from a market vendor,” she said. “Tokens can be spent immediately, saved for a larger purchase, or combined with siblings’ or friends’ tokens for a larger purchase.”
Then every fifth time they get a special token to get whatever they want, with a parent’s approval.
Purchases can only be made by the Sprout member. Adults cannot make purchases with the tokens and may not pick up tokens from the Sprouts table for children.
“The Sprout Club has helped bring people out,” Griesheimer said. “There’s an incentive for coming every Saturday.”
With the children back in school, she hopes they remain excited for Saturdays.
Griesheimer said she’s heard parents say that since the club began their children help more with cooking and seem to be more interested in fruits and vegetables.
All in all, Griesheimer is happy with how the market is doing this year.
“Some of the produce has been (coming in) a little later in the season,” she said.
Currently, sweet corn and watermelon are in season.
Griesheimer said the market will be open every Saturday through October from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. She invites everyone who hasn’t tried the market yet to come out and check it out.
Since the market is under a pavilion, Griesheimer said vendors are there every Saturday, rain or shine.
The official last day of the season is Saturday, Oct. 27, the same day as Pumpkin Palooza.