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Producer Market Beckons From Downtown

Emma Johnson, 8, the daughter of Jared and Denise Johnson of Queen Street, Pottstown, and her jellybeans.

Emma Johnson, 8, daughter of Jared and Denise Johnson of Queen Street, and her jellybeans.

POTTSTOWN PA – Eight-year-old Emma Johnson sat patiently Saturday morning (March 28, 2009) at her table in the downtown Pottstown Farmers’ Market, staring at the jar in front of her and waiting for someone to pass by. It had been quiet so far inside the building, as its regular shoppers hadn’t yet arrived. A man strolled down her aisle, she beamed a smile, and pounced.

“Want to guess the jellybeans?,” she asked, pointing to the jar filled with colored candies. An adjacent sign announced a contest to guess how many were locked inside. He didn’t, but Emma’s smile still blazed. “Have a nice day,” she said.

The contest, and the sunny youngster promoting it, are just two of several new changes appearing at the corner of High and Charlotte Streets in the borough.

The market itself has been a Pottstown fixture for more than 100 years. Increasingly, though,  food specialty retailers there like Vincenzo’s Italian Market – managed by Emma’s father – are attracting more attention from customers. And beginning this Sunday (April 5, 2009), in the municipal parking lot across the street, a new producers’ market is scheduled to offer fresh fruits and vegetables, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Sunday Pottstown Producers’ Market is sponsored by the Pottstown Downtown Foundation, which is signing up local producers who grow, manufacture or create their products within a 100-mile radius of the borough. The foundation plans to run the open-air market every Sunday for 38 weeks, from this month through December.

Announcing the market.

Announcing the market.

“Downtown Pottstown is positioning itself as a new destination point for the tri-county area of Montgomery, Chester and Berks counties,” its website explains. With new restaurants, new stores, and a location that’s “ideally situated as the new hub of Pottstown,” visitors now have even more reasons to venture into town, it adds.

Vendors will set up in the parking lot under tents, or operating from tucks and vans. Among the items expected for sale are home-grown fruits, vegetables and herbs, and other home-made or locally produced goods like bakery products, honey, cheeses, eggs and meats. Craft items are encouraged, too.

And for do-it-yourselfers (remember the abundance of last year’s garden, which yielded too many tomatoes for too few tomato lovers?), a seller’s table costs just $10 a week. The foundation is still taking reservations for market booths. For more information, contact Pottstown’s Main Street Manager office at 610-323-5400.

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