FARMINGTON – A year-round farmers market featuring produce grown in the immediate area is expected to open on the Farmington Falls Road in August.

Erick and Trudy Johnson received Planning Board approval Monday to tear down a small rental house and build a 28- by 40-foot ranch-style building. The structure will have a farmer’s porch across the front which will serve as the Sandy River Farmers Market.

The market will be located across the road from the Johnson family’s Sandy River Farm so that people can see where their food is coming from, she said.

The couple has put a lot of thought and research into the project over the past couple of years; Erick visited similar operations throughout the country, from California to New England, she said.

“He’s talked to a lot of people. It will be hard work but what isn’t, on a farm. It’s a seven-days-a-week job,” she said.

While their corn stand in town will be kept open this summer and local grocers will still be supplied with corn from the farm, the couple hopes to open the market in time to sell corn, tomatoes and other produce fresh from their gardens.

The market will feature their own milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream and mixed grains to feed chickens. Whole corn for heating fuel will also be sold to supply the agri-energy corn stoves the couple is in the process of introducing into the marketplace.

With plans to be open all year, seven days a week, the couple wants the market to include products from other farmers.

A Mount Vernon farmer who grows small greens year-round but doesn’t have the exposure to the public has already expressed interest. A brother-in-law with an organic beef operation will supply frozen, vacuum-sealed meat, while the couple has started raising chickens for the market. The meats will all be frozen and not fresh, she said.

Her father, Herbert L. “Bussie” York, has planted wheat this year and a small grinder will allow customers to grind their own wheat flour or buy pre-ground flour, Johnson said.

“My father likes to bring the public into the job he does and loves,” she said.

Led by the belief in involving the public in agriculture, milk is sold from the Sandy River Farm, and customers are allowed to pet the cows and see the calves, she said.

In the future, the couple hopes to get back to milk in glass bottles. It’s becoming popular now as an alternative to plastic, she said. They are experimenting on the bottling and processing of milk and may even offer home deliveries in the future. Local stores have approached them about stocking their milk.

The proposed market may also mean a few jobs for the local economy as help will be needed to keep the market open year-round, she said.

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