The Downtown Farmers Market exists to provide a location for farmers and crafters to promote their products directly to the consumers at a reasonable price, save family farms and stimulate the local economy.
A very important day in Murray from the late 1800s was the Fourth Monday of each month. This day, called 'Trade Day', was the day for all members of the county to travel to the court square where they would buy, sell, trade or barter for livestock and food. It was a day to watch entertainers, see the medicine show, meet girls and have political conversations. Thousands of people along with their mules and horses were on the court square for the day. Shops sold their goods and restaurants fed the crowds. It was a day of commerce like no other. But, as quickly as it became tradition before the Civil War, it ended in the 1950s. Could it have ended due to the automobile era, the sprawl from downtown, or just the fact that technology was growing by leaps and bounds? Who knows, but this was what the organization decided would make for a great activity...a modern day 'Trade Day.'
In July of 1998, the first farmers market began in Murray Kentucky. It was a small market with only a handful of vendors and grew to almost one dozen vendors (weather permitting) in the first year. The market hosted a few farmers with produce, a few crafters and someone with chickens and other animals. It was set up on S 5th Street thinking that was the best location because it was close to Main Street for easy accessibility and visibility. In an effort to make it work with the businesses around the square, discounts and deals were advertised with the downtown businesses to encourage visiting the market and the stores.
In its second year, the market was moved to Maple Street to allow for construction and the addition of new businesses on S 5th Street. It was thought that Maple Street would be a better place to grow the market since it was a wider street.
Over the years, the idea of a farmers market has really started to catch on. Shopping local at the farmers market is a must on Saturday mornings. The market boasts almost 50 vendors in peak times (June and July) and no less than 24 during the months of May-June.
There is a strong tradition of farmers markets in Kentucky. We hope to remain a part of that rich Kentucky tradition and history. Since Calloway County is known for farming and has such a strong history of agriculture, what better way to help keep us all connected to our roots and help celebrate what comes from our land than to have a market for all to enjoy the bounty of the county while keepin' it fresh!
If you are in town on Saturday mornings, be sure to visit the downtown area to shop, socialize or just walk around the square. It will become your favorite morning tradition!