Wayne White /Herald-Chronicle
The south lawn of the Osage County Courthouse will be occupied by fresh produce vendors as the location of a farmers market this growing season.

Wayne White | Managing Editor

LYNDON—Soon, Osage County consumers will have an opportunity to buy fresh, locally grown produce at an unlikely place – the Osage County Courthouse.

Monday, the Osage County Commission approved a resolution establishing a farmers market on the south lawn of the courthouse. The Mid-Week Farmers Market will be conducted 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays from May 19 to Oct. 20.

The resolution establishes that no adequate market exists for local producers to sell fresh farm products in the county, and allows producers to sell not only garden produce but also personally produced items.

The resolution appoints Osage County Economic Development Director Stephanie Watson as the market’s manager, with specific authority to issue and revoke permits, appoint assistants, assign locations, and deny permits for unauthorized activities.

Watson had brought the idea for the courthouse sales to the commissioners after last year’s attempt to establish a farmers market at Four Corners. She had reported last year’s market was not as successful as was hoped, and she believed that a change to a more centralized location could improve it.

The resolution outlines regulations for vendors, including:

•  All produce must be grown in Osage County or adjoining counties.

• Homemade food items such as jams and jellies are permitted without licensing, but other home-prepared items must be prepared in a state-certified commercial kitchen.

•  Homemade craft items must be 80 percent homemade.

• No prepared foods vendors who have a retail establishment will be permitted.

• Vendors of food for on-site consumption must have a Kansas Department of Agriculture commercial vendor license.

•  All vendors are responsible for paying income and sales taxes, and must have a sales tax permit unless exempt from sales tax collection requirements.

• Vendors must agree to set prices at a competitive level comparable with retail outlets.

• Vendors must provide a sign with their business name and address, and any needed tents, awnings and tables.

In addition, the resolution stipulates that no fees will be charged for a farmers market permit.

Commissioners approved the resolution unanimously, and it becomes effective upon publication in the official county newspaper. Commissioners also approved a vendor permit form and application form.

In other business, the commission:

• met with Osage County Appraiser Stacie Berry who reported property valuation notices were mailed last week. Berry reported that although valuations could still be contested, early indications are that the county’s total valuation will change little from last year.

• met with Osage County Road and Bridge Supervisor Glen Tyson, who reported on clearing roads after the weekend’s snowstorm. Tyson also reported e-waste collection Saturday at the county’s waste transfer station generated the most e-waste of any of the previous collections.

•  toured the road and bridge department’s sign shop, where new street signs for county roads are being imprinted.