Every Saturday, bakers, farmers and food artisans unite in beautiful Kerr Park to offer our community a variety of fresh, local products. We asked Lisa O’Neill, owner, organizer and event coordinator extraordinaire of Growing Roots, what Downingtown means to her.
Name of your organization: Downingtown Farmers Market coordinated by Growing Roots
Your name & position: Lisa ONeill, owner Growing Roots
How many staff members does Growing Roots Employ? One, Juliana, the manager of the Downingtown Farmers Market
How long has your business been open in the Downingtown area? Since 2013
What’s your business’s mission? local farms . local food . local fun
What service do you provide in the community? The Downingtown Farmers Market provides local farmers and food producers the opportunity to sell their product directly to the consumer. All of the farmers and food producers who participate in the market are located within a 35 mile radius of Downingtown. They bring incredibly fresh, local produce to the market every week - including certified organic, certified naturally grown and conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. Our livestock farmers pasture raise their animals, producing high quality meats, poultry and farm fresh eggs. The farmers market allows these farmers to make a living farming in Chester County, selling their product directly to the Chester County community.
Why did you choose to open your business in Downingtown? It’s a community ready to move forward. A beautiful small town borough with a palpable community spirit. Perfectly located to tap into the area’s best farms.
Describe what makes your business the best at what they do! We work with the best people who grow, raise and make simply the best products.
What’s your favorite memory of Downingtown? Opening day for the Downingtown Farmers Market! We were welcomed with open arms, including a ribbon cutting hosted by Downingtown Main Street Association. Well over 1000 people descended on Kerr Park to greet about 20 farmers and food producers on opening day. I was stunned, as were all of the producers. In under two hours we didn’t have a dog biscuit left, they cleaned us out!
And finally, where can you find the best pizza in the borough? I’m going off course with this question because there is dish in Downingtown that is the absolute best in a 5 state radius, if not even farther. Shrimp and Grits from Station Taproom - simply amazing. I went to school in the south, and the shrimp and grits at Station Taproom could compete any day with the south, and win! It doesn’t hurt that the beer selection is impeccable too!
What else is happening at the market this season? The Downingtown Farmers Market is now the first farmers market in Chester County to accept SNAP benefits, market-wide. The program will roll out in early June. We’ve partnered with the Chester County Food Bank who will fund a matching dollars program for all produce purchases using SNAP benefits.