Someone this week told me that they heard the farmers market was losing vendors… as the Market Place Manager, I was concerned about this comment and wondered why anyone would say this – as we have more exhibitors and vendors than the market has ever had. The more I pondered the thought it occured to me that I was approached last week by a customer in the market who had a list of items she was shopping for. Two of the three vendors she asked for are no longer in the Market Place, and the third was simply “off” this past week.
Vendors will come and go. And most assuredly, if you don’t support your favorite vendors on a regular basis, they may not be able to make a living and may need to stop doing farmers’ markets for financial reasons. The longer I thought about this pending rumor, the more amused I became; let me explain. This customer was looking for one vendor who has not been an exhibitor on North Seventh Street in nearly three years. The second vendor left our market about six months ago and the third vendor will return this Saturday as their’s is an “every other week” booth. So, this “customer” is not even a regular customer of the farmers market, but yet found it necessary to tell someone, “The farmers market is losing vendors”. …and that’s how rumors start. In a small town like Fernandina Beach, I’m surprised this hasn’t snowballed into, “The Market Place is closing”!
To protect the vendors within our market, we have turned down a couple of recent farmers market requests for booths that duplicate distinct product categories that we already have. Other declined applications come from those who want to sell items that are not permitted into the Market Place due to our franchise agreement with the City of Fernandina Beach. It is possible this rumor came from a disgruntled applicant; I don’t really know, but rest comfortably friends, the farmers market is thriving! Our newest vendors include Robert “The Plant Guy” of Everblooming Gardens, the Savannah Oatmeal Company, and Veggie Confetti, and we are always seeking new and unique vendors to add to our farmers’ market family.
Farmers markets are a vital part of our local economy and this past week, August 2nd – 8, 2015, was National Farmers Market Week. Our market meets a distinct demand in our community by offering a variety of fresh, healthy, and natural products to our neighbors and friends. Ours is a place where farmers and consumers can interact and discuss where their food comes from, and what they are putting on the family’s dining table. Saturday mornings at the Market Place is an ideal place to be – family and pet friendly, live entertainment, and fabulous finds. We will continue to grow as long as our community supports our vendors by shopping at the Market Place on a regular basis.
Many of our vendors do multiple markets, and as it turns out, their booths in our downtown Fernandina Beach location are just as successful, and often more successful, as their booths in markets found in much larger Florida cities like Jacksonville, Tampa, and Tallahassee.
On behalf of all of our vendors… past, present and future, I’d like to thank each of you for your patronage, and the loyalty you show by returning to the Market Place to support your favorite vendors in the Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers market.
Thanks again and we hope to see ya’ Saturday,