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West Newton hopes farmers market complements new square

| Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:02 p.m.

Just as Market Square in Downtown Pittsburgh has become a center for events, dining and entertainment, Barb LaFace of Downtown West Newton Inc., hopes the corners of Main and Water streets can have a similar revitalization for the borough of West Newton.

At that intersection, the organization is planning to complement the development of Simeral Square with a farmer's market beginning June 1.

“It's a domino effect,” LaFace said. “There's a lot of potential there … It's a beginning.”

LaFace and fellow committee member Lacie Parker said they have begun signing up vendors for the market, which is planned for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through Oct. 26.

Parker said she hopes to have at least 10 vendors commit to each week, but would have space for up to 20.

The focus of the market will be on farmers and producers, Parker said.

“It will give the community members a chance to get to know their farmers and where their foods come from,” she said.

About 65 farmers' markets are held in the southwestern region of the state, but the closest to West Newton listed on the Pennsylvania Buy Fresh Buy Local program's website are Charleroi, McKeesport and Clairton.

LaFace said she wants to bring farmers to West Newton to help improve the health and wellness of the community, including senior citizens.

“I think the more action we have on Main Street and in town will attract more people,” she said.

Local produce, meat, bread, honey, jam and pies are items both would like to see at the market, Parker said.

The pair solicited for interested vendors and will sign final agreements with vendors that commit to the market at 10 a.m. May 11 at the DWNI office on Main Street.

For more information, vendors can call the DWNI office at 724-872-0100 and ask for either Parker or LaFace. Each vendor can sign up for individual Saturdays or receive a discounted rate after committing to the full season.

Parker said she understands the importance of local food options, especially since she and her husband Ted moved to his family's 58-acre farm with plans to grow produce then eventually raise goats and chickens.

She said a few vendor spots will also be available for local organizations that want to attract members like Girl Scout groups, the West Newton Volunteer Fire Department or Lions Club.

“We want the focus to be on the community,” Parker said.

Some Saturdays after the market, events will be planned in the evening at Simeral Square, like an outdoor movie or concert.

LaFace hopes the events keep visitors in town longer so they see the potential in the borough like she does.

“Hopefully this will just be a catalyst,” she said.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at sfederoff@tribweb.com or 724-836-6660.

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