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By John Whitlock
One of the prime locations in Owen County for the annual 127 Yard Sale will soon be ready to became a permanent fixture for top quality produce and local craftsmen.
Marcus Carey, owner of Steepleview Farm, recently announced plans for a “Saturday Farmers’ Market at Steepleview Farm, a new market that will focus on top quality produce and local crafts will be opened across from Poplar Grove Baptist Church.
Carey said news reports several years ago of people being struck by vehicles while shopping at the 127 Yard Sale inspired him and some others to set up a safer, more centralized stop along the route.
“We wanted to open a place with off-street parking where people could shop and be safe,” Carey said. “The first year it was just me and a friend. The next year, we had a couple more. Before long, we kept growing to the point where last year we had a young man do a traffic count and our estimate is that over the week we had nearly 10,000 cars come in.”
Over the next few years, more and more vendors and customers were using the site. Carey said they received a lot of positive feedback but people said the site should be utilized more than once a year.
“ We agreed but couldn’t decide what we could do with it,” Carey said.
The problem remained in the back of his mind for awhile.
“About two years ago, (wife) Harriet and I decided that we wanted to do more with the farm than the same thing year after year,” Carey said. “… our personal interests always leaned more toward gardening, and as for me, I was always interested in learning the old timey ways of doing things.”
Carey began researching sustainable agriculture and more natural ways of growing and preserving food.
“So after lots of searching for ideas, we started traveling around to farmer’s markets exploring what other people in other places were doing. Kentucky is lucky to have such a vibrant department of agriculture that supports this growing industry and we think it’s just in time. The consumer market of people who want a closer connection with their food source is exploding.”
His research took him across the country with stops In San Francisco, Virginia and Florida.
“… we talked to a lot of people, studied what worked and what didn’t work and took the best ideas we could find from around Kentucky and around the rest of the country and came up with this idea of our own,” Carey said.
In this first year, Carey said he like to see to five to 10 producers, crafters, or artists call Steepleview Farm their home for the season. The ease of shopping and a unique blend of products will bring shoppers to and back to Owen County, Carey said.
“We would like to develop a reputation for being a beautiful place that attracts buyers from all around,” Carey said. “Once people realize that our location here in the northern tip of Owen County is only 30 minutes from Florence and 40 minutes from Frankfort the drive time will become no obstacle … A nice leisurely drive with no traffic, no stop signs and no intersections with nothing but trees and birds and fresh air all around will soon, we hope, be a welcome little trip for folks on a Saturday in the summer.”
Carey envisions that market as a weekend destination that will put a spark into many other local businesses.
“… Our mission is to provide an outlet and a marketplace for producers to get their products in front of a lot of people,” Carey said. “Our location is highly visible and we have tons of traffic go by here all summer long, most of it tourists including antique car clubs, Corvette clubs, motorcycle riders and folks headed to places like Frankfort, Elk Creek, Elk Lake and of course the Speedway.”
Carey said the market will not only serve the customers, it will be another outlet for Owen County farmers and craftsmen.
“It is my goal to bring the customers here from everywhere by building an attractive and welcoming environment at which Owen County farmers and producers can display and sell their products,” Carey said.
Carey said he is excited about the prospects of the market and bringing new people and vendors into Owen County.
“You will never find anybody who will work harder to be the best hosts you can find anywhere and we would truly love to have (vendors) come join us,” Carey said.
Carey hopes to have the market up and open the last Saturday in May.
For more information on joining the market, call Carey at 859-643-3339 or email email@example.com