Dignitaries, producers and well-wishers were on hand Nov. 15 for the ribbon cutting at The Market Place, Heart and Hand's newest ministry in Barbour County, at 106 S. Main St., Philippi.
Those attending included members of the Tygart Valley Growers Association, the Value Chain Cluster Initiative, the Mon Valley United Methodist Church, Philippi City Council, Philippi Main Street, the Barbour County Chamber of Commerce, and the West Virginia University Extension Service.
Brenda Hunt is director of Heart and Hand and president of the Barbour County Chamber of Commerce, Reg Trefethen is manager of The Market Place, and Mike Wells is assistant manager.
Several residents attended the ribbon cutting for The Market Place.
Trefethen said, "Our original plan more than 20 years ago was to provide an outlet for excess fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, honey, jams, jellies and baked goods as a means of generating additional income for local farmers, growers and gardeners, while offering fresh, nutritious food for our neighbors.
"We are proud to announce that we now have a permanent building in which to display and sell our products, and our doughnut shop and coffee shop are now open for business."
The Market Place is central to the county's "buy fresh - buy local" movement. There are 93 garden markets in the state, and and a government-certified meat processing plant is being considered for Barbour County.
Walt Helmick, state commissioner of agriculture, recently announced a new farm-to-school program to have local food on school menus throughout the school year.
He said, "Our county school systems spend about $100 million each year feeding students, but little of that goes to West Virginia producers.
"Besides fruits and vegetables, the state's cattle industry can also benefit from the new initiative. Heart and Hand's Market Place is an important part of the effort," he said.