Farmers Market Provides A Lot More Than Vegetables!

It was a beautiful day and throngs of people came out to celebrate the grand opening of the new Boone County Cooperative Extension Service Farmers Market. A packed house of community members, vendors, University of Kentucky agricultural agents, Cooperative Extension Board members, Judge Executives, and many local and state representatives were on hand to check out the new venue. From the smiling faces and comments overheard throughout the day, it appears the Farmers Market is a welcome alternative.

GBBN Architects provided masterplanning, sustainability review and educational programming services for the 75,000 square foot project that hosts not only the farmer's market, but also an outdoor educational facility focused on creating sustainable learning opportunities for the public. Set among the historical backdrop of the Ellis House, the formal teaching garden with raised stone planting beds allow Extension Agents multiple locations to teach annual and perennial species. Visitors can stroll the area and take advantage of demonstrations of horticultural, agricultural and food preparation techniques.

"Visiting and shopping at the Market is like having a cup of coffee with a friend," said a satisfied customer. "I thought I was just buying a squash, but the soft spoken man selling it to me asked me how I was going to cook it and gave me a tip on how to saute` it." She added, "He even gave me a new variety of squash he grew this year to try cooking the same way."

Though it's a competitive setting with vendors wanting you to buy what they're selling versus someone else, the comradery between the vendors is part of the new energy around the Market. Don't see what you want, just ask. Each vendor will gladly tell you who has what you want or when it should be coming in. From getting live demonstrations on grilling techniques to catching up with the vendors, the friendly atmosphere makes an afternoon trip to Boone County a pleasant highlight in anyone's day.

"The Market is more than shopping, it's an experience," said GBBN project manager, Marcene Kinney, AIA. "You may see a woman walking dogs, teens riding bikes or rollerblading, people driving through to see who's at the market and always friends catching up on the latest news." Kinney added, "One lady at the grand opening said it best, 'This place is beautiful - it's like shopping in a park', - when I heard that, I knew we got it right!"