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Tabler Farm begins partnership with Charles Town Farmers Market

ISSUED: 21 June 2024

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WVShepherd University’s Agricultural Innovation Center at Tabler Farm has started a partnership with the Charles Town Farmers Market, serving as a fresh produce vendor. 

In need of more farm-fresh vegetable produce, and with a shortage of vegetable farm vendors in the Eastern Panhandle, the Charles Town Farmers Market extended an offer for Tabler Farm to join their vendor lineup. 

Madison Hale, Shepherd’s farm coordinator, believes this partnership will support the agricultural innovation center’s initiatives in many ways, from boosting community outreach to increasing economic growth. 

“We will use the public interactions [from the market] as a way to educate the community about our program, why it’s important, and how they can get involved,” said Hale. 

There are different ways people can get involved, including area farmers who can access land to try different ways of farming. 

“Additionally, it provides the farm with an additional revenue source to fund our operations,” explained Hale. “These funds go directly back into farm production and are primarily used to fund job opportunities for student workers.” 

These student workers will assist the farm staff during market hours, meaning they will be able to sell and market the produce they grew and harvested at Tabler Farm. 

As a result, the partnership will support learning opportunities within Shepherd’s environmental studies and business programs, providing access to skill sets not readily available in the classroom. 

“Partnerships like this really enhance the hands-on components of our programs,” said Hale. “As a demonstration/educational farm, our goal is to operate the way a regular farm would, to give students a real-life experience of what working and running a small-scale vegetable farm is like. By engaging in these various commercial outlets, we are training our students on how to price, present, market, and sell their farm goods, which is essential to a successful farming enterprise.” 

The Charles Town Farmers Market is part of the Jefferson Growers, Artisans, and Producers (GAP) Coalition, which provides local farmers, artisans, musicians, and non-profits with alternative marketing opportunities to encourage agricultural and creative entrepreneurship in the region. The Jefferson GAP Coalition also runs the local grocery store, Bushel & Peck in Charles Town, West Virginia. 

Fiona Harrison, Charles Town Farmers Market manager, is ready to see this partnership benefit the market, Tabler Farm, and the community. 

“We are so excited to welcome Shepherd University students to the market,” said Fiona. “We look forward to a successful and profitable season for all our vendors, and we hope that Shepherd’s presence at the market becomes one of mutual support, respect, and collaboration. There is so much happening at Tabler Farm that we all can learn and benefit from and, as one would hope on a university campus, the possibilities are endless!” 

Tabler Farm began selling produce at the farmers market in June, participating every other week until the end of the season in October. The Charles Town Farmers Market runs from 9 a.m.-noon every Saturday on South Samuel Street in downtown Charles Town. 

To know when to find Tabler Farm at the Charles Town Farmers Market, follow their Instagram page, @shepherduniversityfarm, or Facebook page, Shepherd University Farm. 

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