Founder brings fresh approach to Lower Burrell farmer's market
Joseph “Bud” Myers likes to keep things fresh.
The Lower Burrell man has the chance to do that every summer at the Lower Burrell Farmer's Market.
A member of the city's parks and recreation commission, Myers took it upon himself a few years ago to start the market, which is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday from mid-June through mid-October in the parking lot of Lower Burrell's city hall.
Myers, 79, has worked to bring in about a dozen vendors, from those selling the expected fresh fruits and vegetables, to others, whose selection includes homemade items such as breads, pies, jams and candy.
“Mine's more like a mini-mall,” he said of the market. “I have an excellent variety. I choose what comes in and out. Other than produce, I don't have duplicates.”
Among other offerings are handmade soaps, cheese, jerky and even Syrian cuisine and foods from Rosie's Pierogies.
The farmer's market doesn't charge vendors for space, Myers said. Instead, it is allocated to them according to the size that will best accommodate their goods.
The fresh foods aren't the only draw, according to Lower Burrell councilman Richard Callender.
“It's not just about the produce,” he said. “It's about bringing the community together.”
“He's trying to get everybody involved, not just people that come down to buy fruits and vegetables.”
Myers' involvement is clearly welcome. Callender credits him with “taking the bull by the horns” and starting up the farmer's market with just a small stipend from the city.
He also notes Myers' work with the Burrell Entertainment and Activities Team, an effort spearheaded about a year ago by parks and recreation committee members. The group works to bring community activities to the city, such as a wood-carving event and a strawberry festival.
“He makes these things just happen,” Callender said. “He's definitely a great asset to the community.”
Myers gives back to his community in other ways, as well.
He was a charter member of the Saxonburg Lions club and a longtime member of its Lower Burrell counterpart. He oversees the organization's efforts to distribute eyeglasses and hearing aids to those in need.
In addition, he plays a special role for the Lower Burrell chapter each year around Christmas. He and other members host a Christmas party at Wildlife Lanes for children with special needs from the local area.
The Lions provide funds to help buy the kids presents. When the day of the party arrives and the gifts are distributed, Myers plays Santa Claus.
It's not hard to see from his twinkling eyes and merry laugh that Myers, a 50-year resident of the city, is well-suited for the role.
“It's great,” he said of playing the part of jolly old St. Nick. “It's amazing. You have to see it to believe it.”
Julie E. Martin is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.