Montgomery’s Farm Women’s Cooperative Market celebrates 90 years

What began as a way for women to earn an income during the Great Depression grew into a larger cooperative serving the Bethesda community for 90 years.

The Montgomery Farm Women’s Cooperative Market at 7155 Wisconsin Ave. at Bethesda will celebrate its dedication to the Bethesda community with a harvest and Halloween party from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

The celebration will include a children’s farm, music, face painting, costume contest, planting demonstration, pumpkin patch, goodie bags, children’s candy bags, tricks or treats, food to buy and shopping from local vendors. , according to its website.

The market started in 1932 as a cooperative for a small group of women to earn money for their families, as many men worked on the farms. Although the market was originally only open to women, men started selling at the market in the 1970s, according to Charlena Edge, the market’s assistant manager.

Edge operates a stall in the market for her business Obsidian Organics and said she has gained a lot of knowledge as a participant in her community.

“[The market has] gave me a start for my business. It allows me to do trial and error as I develop my products, learn how to sell, and customers have given me lots of feedback,” she said. “My product is very different from what it was 18 months ago just because people were willing to share what they thought could help me.”

Some of the market vendors include Windy Hill Produce, Mark Moxley Wooden Bowls, Ray Renn’s Farm Stand, Hardy’s Barbecue, La Bohemia Bakery, Simply Delicious Desserts, and Swings Coffee Roasters.

According to Edge, the celebration is also being held in honor of former assistant manager Ray Renn, who passed away on Tuesday.

“It was supposed to be a celebration, he was very excited about it,” she said. “We’ll probably be having a memorial service in a few weeks, but we just have to spend [Saturday] and honoring the legacy of the market because there were people who died and new people came in, but I think that’s its uniqueness – somehow it continues to survive despite the changes of members in whatever happens socially or economically.

Edge said a GoFundMe was also set up to help Renn’s family.

People attending the celebration are encouraged to bring canned or shelf stable food to donate to the Capital Region Food Bank after the event.

Virginia S. Braud