Goodbye frozen vegetables, hello locally grown produce fresh from area farms.
As the summer season dawns on Delaware, farmers’ markets are popping up all over the state, with a few kicking off their season in the coming weeks.
The popularity of locally-run markets has sky rocketed over the past few years, with local and state officials attributing their success to a strong interest in healthy eating and locally sourced food. The markets have also become a popular gathering place, where residents are afforded the opportunity to meet local farmers and socialize with their neighbors and friends.
According to the Delaware Department of Agriculture, last year saw explosive growth in the number of farmers’ markets, increasing from 16 locations to 29. This year, there are 26 markets operating throughout the state.
“Each of these markets brings people face-to-face with their local farmers, which broadens Delawareans’ understanding of agriculture and deepens their appreciation for farmers’ contributions,” said state Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee. “They are a joy to visit and see how consumers and farmers learn from each other.”
Georgetown’s farmers’ market kicks off today, and will operate every Wednesday throughout the summer from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. at the North Bedford Street Park, located next to the Georgetown Presbyterian Church.
“Once again, we have the ideal setting for a farmer’s market,” said Karen Duffield, executive director of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce. “It is a wonderfully peaceful and cool spot to protect vendors, and it invites customers to relax and enjoy their marketing.”
Duffield said the chamber expects about 12-15 vendors this year. She said the market, which is in its fourth year, is still in its building stage as organizers struggled to find an ideal location for the event in years past.
“But we have grown, particularly since we’ve found our home at the park,” Duffield said. “We are getting loyal vendors that stick with us through the season so that our customers can count on them.”
Kyle Serman, the market manager for Georgetown’s farmers’ market, said the event’s allure lies in the availability of fresh produce that is “generally picked that morning, loaded up, and brought to the market, instead of shipping it in on trucks and loading it into a warehouse.”
Vendors interested in participating in the Georgetown farmers’ market can download an application at www.georgetowncoc.com or call (302) 856-1544.
Millsboro will also hold its farmers’ market on Wednesdays, beginning May 29 and running through Aug. 28. The market will run from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and will be held in Cupola Park in downtown Millsboro.
Page 2 of 2 - David Lomas, a board member for the Millsboro Downtown Partnership, said among the vendors signed up for the market are various bakers, T.A. Farms, Parsons Produce and Hopkins Creamery.
Lomas said the partnership is still seeking vendors for the market, and anyone who is interested can call him at (302) 766-2773.
The Milton farmers’ market started on April 19. Its next market will be May 24 from 3:30 p.m. –6:30 p.m. at 210 Union Street next to the Lydia Cannon Museum.
Judy Shandler, a board member for the market, said this month two new businesses will join the more than 25 vendors who already participate in the market – T.A. Farms and Maiale Deli and Salumeria. As usual, Kemps Liquors will be at the market pouring special Fourth Friday wine tastings of seasonal reds and whites, and Abbott’s Grill will fire up its huge grill with several BBQ selections. There will also be live music.
“We’re growing, we’re vibrant, and we have live music every week,” Shandler said. “More and more people want to come once they see how vibrant the market is.”