The End Of The Hazleton Farmers Market?

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HAZLETON -- A relatively new farmers market in Luzerne County may not return this summer, but organizers and participating farmers hope they can find a way to keep it going.

The Hazleton farmers market started two years ago in the parking lot behind the Hayden Building downtown.

It consistently had people from six different farms and other vendors. But this summer, the Hazleton farmers market might be down to one stand or no stands at all.

It's only been around for two summers, but already the farmers market has started to make an impact.

"We could get fresh vegetables, fresh tomatoes, a lot cheaper than the grocery store, and most of us around here have a certain amount of income," said Cindy Johnson of Hazleton.

But Johnson, who lives in an apartment near the farmers market, may not have much of a market to return to this summer.

Donna Palermo from the Hazleton Area Chamber of Commerce says farmers are having trouble finding enough people to man their stands.

"We're not completely losing hope with it, but again, several issues, and that main, being the big issue is that the help that the farmers need," said Palermo.

"Most of the farmers were coming out of the area and they had a long trip to get there in the morning and to get back, and it was just a little more than they thought was profitable," said Lenny Burger of Burger's Farm Market.

"back in this parking lot is where the farmers market was, and organizers and participants are still hoping they'll at least be able to have something set up here this year."

"I just figure as long as we're having a little better business every year, then it's worth hanging in there," said Burger.

Burger owns Burger's Farm in Drums and had a very successful stand at the market for the past two years. He plans to return this summer, no matter what.

That's something Cindy Johnson would love to see.

"No more Fun Fest, no more First Night, and now, no farmers market. So what's the sense of fixing up all the streets when we ain't got nothing to come down to Hazleton for?" she asked.

A big construction project along Broad Street in Hazleton is set to be completed by the end of this year.

The chamber president believes once it's finished, there will be renewed interest in the farmers market.

Chamber officials believe it could be up and running next year on Saturdays from July to November.