WHEELING, W. Va. (WTRF)
The Public Market, a division of Grow Ohio Valley, opened on the first floor of the Intermodal Center last October.
Soon afterward, the pandemic hit, and everything changed.
But the Public Market found ways to carry out their mission of fresh food for all people, and now they have a one-year anniversary worth celebrating.
They learned that being small meant being able to give one-on-one personal service.
They posted pictures of what they had, and people called or ordered online.
“We could shop for them, bag everything up and when they called from outside, we could just run it out to the curb for them,” said Jodi Adams, general manager.
Their grab and go cooler is filled with meals and sides made by a chef with fresh ingredients.
“There are dinners in there that you can take home and heat up, there are salads, there are things like yoghurt and granola that you can grab and go,” said Adams. “There are chips and homemade hummus and pimento cheese.”
Their vendors are local farmers like Tony Dorsey of Colerain.
“Previously we just sold on Craigslist and went to farmers markets, but that really takes a lot of time off the farm,” said Dorsey. “So with this, they tell us what they want, and we bring it in.”
They share space with the bus stop.
They’re accessible to everyone, both physically and financially.
Anyone with a SNAP card (food stamps) gets everything 50% off.
“It’s really amazing to see our friends who live in housing projects and our friends who come in suits from the bank, shopping alongside each other, and everybody having access to these healthy fresh foods,” said Danny Swan, executive director of Grow Ohio Valley.
They have meats, cheeses, jams and jellies, maple syrup, and artisan and craft goods.
So what are their personal favorites?
For Jodi, it’s the salad mixes.
“They’re just so good,” she says. “They’re crispy and they’ve made my kids love salads!”
Danny Swan, never a fan of veggie burgers, has a favorite that surprised even himself.
“The black bean burger, “he said. “I’m typically not so much of a burger substitute kind of a guy. But the black bean burger is to die for.”
The Public Market is a non-profit operation, so the money flows back to the farmers.
They paid them $170,000 in the first year.
Their hours are 9 to 6 on weekdays, and 9 to 4 on Saturdays.
Their official anniversary celebration is Monday.
Everyone who comes in gets a free tote bag, and there are raffles and cupcakes.
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