Changes at the 2014 Sara Hardy Farmers Market

by Tricia Phelps: Farmers Market Manager (farmersmarket@ecoseeds.org)

There’s new developments coming to the Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market this year, so who better than Market Manager Tricia Phelps to share the whys and wherefores behind the changes? Thanks to Tricia and the Farmers Market for the photos!

Sara Hardy Market, May 4 2013

May 4, 2013 at the Sara Hardy Farmers Market

The beginning of the Outdoor Farmers Market season reminds us that summer is finally on its way. It’s a beautiful image of the community coming back to life after a long, cold winter.

This year is the 30th year for the market, and it’s been 30 years of growth and change. Early on in its history, the Sara Hardy Farmers Market Committee made the decision that this market be a growers’ market. That may seem like an obvious statement, but actually it’s a strong commitment and has been at the foundation of management decisions for the community market ever since.

After the 2013 season the management staff sat down with market vendors to discuss the good and the bad of the market. We determined the most critical issues and brainstormed solutions together. Here is a list of the major changes that will impact the Sara Hardy Farmers Market this year and quick answers as to Why?

Farm Market Tulips courtesy Sara Hardy Famers Market

Farm Market Tulips courtesy Sara Hardy Famers Market

The 100% Rule

“All of the products sold at the Market by the Vendor must be grown or produced by that Vendor. No reselling will be allowed.”

Why?

This rule prohibits vendors from purchasing produce from someone else and undercutting vendors that actually raised the plants from seed. There are a lot of costs associated with raising a plant to the stage of producing fruit and if a vendor doesn’t have to account for these costs of growing the product, they can afford to sell it for cheaper.

Permanent Spots

“In order to receive an assigned space for the entire market, the Vendor must be committed to attend the Wednesday and/or Saturday markets between June 4, 2014 and September 27, 2014.”

Why?

Commitment to a market is the key to success. Not only for the market as a whole, but for a vendor themselves to build up their customer base. Not only will the customers be able to easily identify where their favorite vendors will be, but a map with numbered stalls can be seen in the Management Office to help direct them.

Congestion

“We have eliminated vendor spaces in the most congested areas of the Market to create better traffic flow and eliminate some of the congestion.”

Why?

Customers and Vendors alike have always brought up congestion as a major issue. While we have plans in the works for a 2015-2016 allocation of funds for site improvements, we decided this was the best way to address these concerns for 2014.

The Sara Hardy Farmers Market starts this Saturday, May 3rd PM from 7:30-12:00. Join us Downtown for farm fresh produce, starters for the garden, springtime flowers or simply to visit with your favorite local vendors. It’s finally Outdoor Farmers Market Season, and we’re ready for another great year!