The Rogers County Farmer's Market will return bigger and better than before this season.
The Rogers County Farmer's Market has received a USDA grant that, among other things, has afforded them the opportunity to hire a full time market director.
About three years ago Jody Reiss said she began pushing to get the existing market to move to Gazebo Park—or to start an entirely new market.
"I work on the TSET healthy living program," said Farmer's Market Advisory Board Chair Jody Reiss. "Part of my objective is increasing food access…and working on TSET I get a lot of different stuff about Farmer's Market."
She said that's how she came upon information about the USDA grant, which she passed along.
Ultimately, the application for the grant was submitted by, and awarded to, Volunteers for Youth.
"With this, we have officially hired a full time market director, her day to day operations off season will be recruiting more farmers and getting us to a place where we can expand the market and grow," Reiss said. "Recruiting new vendors, ways to promote it to get more people to come to the market. Entertainment. Another piece of the grant is that she will have to provide education to the farmers who are maybe trying to start up a farm, to give them guidance, and maybe some farm to school initiatives. This is vital because so many kids these days are really not aware of where food comes from— they think apple comes from a pouch.
The newly-hired market director, Reighly Hendrix, is eager to hit the ground running.
"I grew up in Oologah on my family's farm and ranch. We had livestock, and my mom owned a plant nursery. We attended the Farmer's Market in Tulsa, I've been going to that one since I was two years old since they were among the founders there," Hendrix said.
From there she went to Oklahoma State University and obtained her degree in agriculture communications.
"I came back to Oologah and wasn't really sure what I was going to do. I looked at positions with other farmer's markets but none of them really jumped out to me as what I wanted to do," she recalled. "Then I got a call about the Rogers County Farmer's Market and I thought it sounded great—knowing that I would get to help it become something big and hopefully something that will continue to grow and be successful."
Hendrix said, "I'm really excited about the opportunity to get to grow the market and to work with the vendors and farmers as well as the, hopefully, new customers we will have."
More information about the market can be found on the Rogers County Farmer's Market Facebook page.