Inside the community
Read Time: 4 min

producer with passion

Redux Extra August 25, 2021
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Journey from Media to Market

Our journey through jobs and careers is often unpredictable and not what one dreamed about. People are motivated by different values, goals and ambitions from an idealistic view of “making a difference” to a pragmatic purpose of “making money” or simply by chance that one may land in a career outside of their intentions and enthusiasm.

For those who find the right path and become successful in what they do, there is always an inner
fire, an inherent craving, frequently called passion, that arms one with power, resilience and purpose
to perform. Passion is a true desire that cannot be learned but is inherently within all people, a
force that enables one to perform their best with confidence.

There are also times where passion is ignored for a shortcut to fame and fortune, or when one has yet to discover their true gusto, but after going a whole circle, that inner flame will guide them to their true path. Janet Terry is a woman whose career is a great
example of how her passion has always been the guiding light for choosing her path. Her desire to serve the community stretches from her previous successful career in media journalism, connecting with people all the way to her current business serving and socializing with the community as the owner of the Olney Farmers Market.

When the time came for Terry to transition into a new beginning, she followed her inner instincts. Terry was eager to find happiness and success within her community again by providing healthy produce and a meaningful medium for fun, food and an opportunity for the local small businesses to shine and profit.

Olney Farmers and Artists Market is that new beginning. This market is an environment for the community to share common experiences and enjoy the area’s beautiful Sundays together. Terry graciously shared her busy time with Redux Extra to give us a tour of the market and her journey from media production to farmers’ produce.

RE: Let us start with your background in media and your passion for journalism.
Janet: I started out as French teacher, before earning a master’s degree in foreign languages and journalism. Then, journalism became my new passion. I worked as a reporter on Capitol Hill covering members of Congress and the White House, before taking a producer/writer job at WUSA-TV (then known as WDVM). In addition to writing and field producing, I was also the primary guest booker for all newscasts for decades.

RE: How did the idea of a farmer’s market come about, and what motivated you to take the initiative for this business?
Janet: I started the Olney Farmers and Artists Market in 2007, purely by accident. Our daughter attended the College of Charleston in South Carolina. My husband and I fell in love with the city and the Farmers Market in Charleston. One day, I told a friend in Olney, who insisted I should think about the idea of a Market in Olney. Ten people raised their hands to be part of my committee. When the county said it would be almost impossible for me to start a market, we showed we could do it.

RE: What is the concept behind Olney Farmers and Artists Market?
Janet: The concept is to bring fresh, local, healthy, fabulous produce to our community and also provide a central gathering place for families. We have chef demos, live music and a kids’ tent every Sunday (pre-pandemic).

RE: Is this market an individually owned organized business?
Janet: We are a 501(c)(3). The Olney Farmers and Artists Market is individually owned by me. I’m the president. Sandy Tucker is our vice president. Frank Mullen is our treasurer. Angie Ryder, a volunteer, runs our Facebook page, and Kathy Smith is our webmaster. We are year round and located on Medstar Montgomery hospital grounds. I would love to host you, if you get a chance to come out.

RE: What are the logistics of this business from the farmers to you and to the public?
Janet: Farmers, food vendors and artists (and crafters) pay us a small fee to operate. I meet with every new vendor personally to make sure it’s a good fit. To get accepted to the market, a farmer must fill out an application from our website, olneyfarmersmarket.com. The next step is a personal visit to the farm. I make sure hygiene on the farm is up to the Agriculture Department’s standards. For instance, one red flag would be a dog roaming around the crops being grown. That would be unacceptable. I also make sure the farmer is growing everything they plan to sell at the market. We are a producer-only market, which means a farmer must grow what they sell and provide us with proof.

RE: Is your market multi-ethnic as far as the produce and other food items? Do you have a presence in DC, MD and VA?
Janet: Yes, we have a wide variety of ethnic groups represented, including Mexican, Indonesian, Latvian, Asian and more. We have farmers from MD, VA and PA. Our produce and food offerings, ranging from Vietnamese to Indonesian to Mexican are quite delicious!

RE: What challenges did you overcome to establish yourself as a business?
Janet: It took about four years for us to get known in the community. We started with about eight producer-only farmers, juried artists and a primarily healthy group of food vendors in a small parking lot. Now, we have about 75 vendors and feature
live music, chef demos, a children’s tent and much more.

RE: Do you think your farmer’s market contributes to the success of small businesses in the community? What is your ultimate goal when it comes to helping small businesses?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.