The Rogers County Farmers Market will return on May 2nd bigger and better than before this season thanks to a newly-formed Market Advisory Board and the three-year USDA grant. About three years ago, Jody Reiss (TSET HLP Project Director) said she began pushing to get the existing struggling market to move to Lynn Riggs Park in the heart of downtown Claremore—or to start an entirely new market.
“With the USDA grant, we have officially hired a full-time market director and 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 and promotion to get more people to come to the market will be top priorities for the Market Director and the Advisory Board. Another facet of the grant includes providing education to the farmers who may be trying to start up a farm. Some farm to school initiatives will also be implemented which is vital because so many kids these days are really not aware of where food comes from— they think apples come from a pouch.
The new 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 participate in the Farmers Market in Tulsa and I’ve been going to that one since I was two years old. In fact, my parents were among the founders of that market,” Hendrix said.
Hendrix attended Oklahoma State University where she 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 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.”