This article appeared in The Post-Journal on September 15, 2017. Author: Katrina Fuller; Click here for original article
With twinkling lights, soft jazz and local foods, the Jamestown Public Market hosted a harvest-themed feast like none other.
Long tables lined the Winter Garden Plaza, adorned with flowers, candles and plates of cheese, fruit, entrees and salads chock full of local goods. Christina Breen, Farmers Market manager, said the event is a favorite of hers that brings the community together in a unique way.
“This is the second year,” Breen said. “It was smashing – it was a beautiful fall day, just like today. We’re so thankful we’re getting good weather for these events because we really wanted to activate the Winter Garden space.”
She said the idea is to raise funds for the public market all while showing the public what a special event would look like held in the unique Winter Garden Plaza. Studio D catered the event using local produce, meats and cheeses. The dinner also included local wines and beers as well as coffee from the Crown Street Roasting Company and dessert from Full Moon Rising Bakery.
Breen said the market tries to keep the foods as local as possible. Likewise, they aim to showcase items that can be bought at the market.
“The dishes they are creating today are used from local farms and local vendors,” she said. “
We also wanted to make it a family style dinner, so all of the tables are connected so everyone is sitting together and getting to know their neighbors.”
Breen said it is exciting to take businesses and entities from across the county and put them together to see what comes of it.
“You have this beautiful event that’s happening tonight, and it’s kind of the culmination of all of that,” she said.
Breen said it is the perfect event to end on as she takes her leave of the market.
“It’s kind of emotional for me because I’m leaving and all these people have been such a huge, important part of the Farmer’s Market in just supporting it,” she said.
Kristy Kathman, Jamestown Renaissance Corporation program and administrative coordinator, and Sarah Gilbert, Jamestown Renaissance Corporation grant writer, thanked everyone in the crowd for attending and supporting the public market.
“This a really special night for us, and we love having you here with us,” Gilbert said.
Kathman and Gilbert then recognized Breen as the “guest of honor for the evening.
“When I first began working at the JRC, Christina was just returning from maternity leave and gearing up for the new market season, and we quickly bonded over motherhood and the challenges of going to work when all you really want to do is be home, snuggling your baby,” Kathman said. “As Christina and I got to know each other, Christina’s passion really began to come through. She is a highly passionate woman. While I’d say she’s most passionate about her son, Jack, her husband, Jeff and her family, one conversation with Christina shows how passionate she is about so many things.”
During the five years Breen spent with the market, Kathman said she has been an advocate for farmers and making fresh, healthy foods available for everyone. Breen also fought for the market to continue, even when the funding situation was precarious. Recently, she worked with Gilbert to write a grant to the USDA to expand the reach of the market.
“Christina strives to give a voice to those who may not be heard otherwise,” Kathman said. “I think that’s awesome.”
The JRC will be hard-pressed to find someone as dedicated and passionate as Breen, she said, wishing Breen the best in the next chapter of her life.
“On a personal note, I’ll miss our conversations on life and just how great Jamestown is and how great it can be,” Kathman said. “I’ll miss your smile around the office and your big heart.”
The Public Market will be open until October and is located on Cherry Street between Third and Second Streets in downtown Jamestown. It is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, visit www. jamestownrenaissance.org.