Food

East Rural Pop-Up Market

#ER Pop-Up Farmers' Market

Thursday, June 22, 2017

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The buzz was palpable Friday last, as farmers from East Rural (ER) St Andrew, led by their MP Juliet Holness, unveiled their strawberries. Thursday Food, never one to feign indifference toward strawberries, moved quickly into selection mode.

The hands-on MP for East Rural St Andrew, whose initiative it was, paused from selling to speak exclusively to our team.

“The pop-up market was a huge success,” shared Holness. “We received over 100 lbs of orders before the market opened and continued receiving orders subsequent to the market. We started at 10:00 am and were completely out by 11:30 am. The strawberries were finished by 10:30 am.”

Pretty impressive stuff, considering the tweet went out Friday morning. Holness went on to explain why she initiated strawberries. “We decided to focus on high-value niche crops that we know would do well in the cooler climates of East Rural St Andrew, such as strawberries, broccoli, parsley, Irish potatoes, escallions and snow peas. Our research showed where over 100,000 pounds of strawberries were being imported every year. This was all the incentive needed to assist farmers through East Rural St Andrew's agricultural assistance programme, AgriHope. We trained farmers in strawberry production and gave them seedlings of the festival variety, which withstands tropical climates better when compared to other varieties. In addition to training, I also went out and found buyers for when the crop was ready to be harvested. We have visited some supermarket chains and hoteliers who were happy to purchase and sell our locally grown products.”

Juicy, sweet strawberries weren't the only offerings. “In addition to strawberries,” continued Holness, “we had locally grown peaches which are very popular in the mountains and sugar loaf pineapples along with pumpkin and carrots. However, our push was for strawberries; the farmers brought additional items.”

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