Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Spring has arrived, and with the warmer weather comes the arrival of Summerville’s Farmers’ Market, starting April 12.
The year will bring new vendors, lunchtime seating, live music and environmental initiatives, according to Market Manager Eric Davis.
So far the market has booked 81 vendors, Davis said, and most of them are returning. There will be new booths, though.
A total of 27 growers will sell at the market, including all of last year’s growers and five new ones: Lee Lynn Farms, Heritage Wishbone Farms, Zander Farms, Bookmarks and Plant Starts and Plant the Earth. Clemson Extension master gardeners will also have a space each week to advise patrons on gardening and growing.
Other new vendors include Big Baby’s Adirondack Chairs, Chappy’s Gourmet, the Pierogie Hut and Opa Café, among others.
To help support the increasing number of food vendors, Davis said this year they will be launching Market Café, a new initiative to encourage patrons to purchase their lunches at the market and stay to eat them.
As a part of the program, the Town will be permanently installing new picnic tables and trash cans to the Town Hall courtyard. The idea came from vendors and market patrons who were surveyed at the end of last year’s season.
“[They] wanted a place to sit and enjoy their food purchases. The idea is to make the market more than a place to shop for groceries, but also a community gathering/socializing spot,” Davis said.
The mayor has approved the Market Café plan, but layout and estimated costs haven’t been determined yet, Davis said.The new furniture is expected to be installed within the first couple of weeks of the market. He said funding will come from the Parks and Recreation Department budget, grants and collected vendor fees.
Not only will lunching patrons enjoy the new eating space, but starting this year all patrons will also be able to enjoy live music. A variety of local bands, from bluegrass to jazz, will be performing from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. on market days.
Also, in an effort to be more environmentally friendly, the Farmers’ Market has partnered with HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Charleston, who will provide the first 1,500 market patrons to complete a survey with reusable shopping totes.
The 2014 market season will begin April 12. The markets are held every Saturday between April 12 and Dec. 20, a longer time frame this year, from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the First Citizens Bank parking lot behind Town Hall.
The longer market season is something vendors asked for, according to Davis.
“The mayor received a petition from vendors last year to extend the season up until the Saturday before Christmas,” he explained. “We decided this is a good idea, it gives residents and visitors another opportunity to buy holiday gifts locally from local vendors.”
As in previous years, parking for the Farmers’ Market is available in the Town Hall parking garage and in Hutchinson Square.