Special to the Mirror by Karen Gay
For many years people on the Lower Shore have decried the lack of a unified, centralized Farmers Market. We have excellent, individual markets up and down Lankford Highway and a number of
fantastic local growers and producers, but nothing that would bring vendors and consumers together in a way that would augment the overall economy and community. Beginning in May this will change. A group of people, led by Kimb Denny of the Cape Charles Historical Society, is working together to bring a farmers market to the town.
Many over the years have promoted the idea of a market for Cape Charles, but a flagging economy and low population made the idea unfeasible. Now, however, the tourism rates are increasing and there is a building boom in town. The time is right for a successful re-launch of the project.How did this come about right now? People initiating separate, individual efforts to create a farm market in Cape Charles learned of each other’s activities and teamed up to form a unified vision for a market that would serve the Lower Shore. A group of people in town, Barbara O’Hare and Karen Gay started to plan for a market that would take place in downtown Cape Charles. Simultaneously, Kimb Denny, Executive Director of the Cape Charles Historical Society, saw the market as a vehicle to encourage people to visit the museum as well as a gathering and shopping place for area residents. The Town has also been exploring the idea, and independently coordinated a one-day event to be held Saturday May 28th, in hopes that it would provide the running start this idea needed to get off the ground. When the groups converged much discussion took place about the logistics and location of the market, how to encourage shoppers to stay and dine and shop in Cape Charles, and how to provide adequate income for the vendors.
One thing was clear to the group: in order to have a market in 2016, we would need to use an existing 501c-3 organization. There simply wasn’t time to take care of the legal and administrative logistics before the spring. Another factor was the need for restrooms near the market. The Cape Charles Historical Society is willing to provide both. Everyone agreed that it would be a good idea to hold the Market at the Cape Charles Museum and Welcome Center, 814 Randolph Avenue, a location that most people coming in to town already pass by daily and will easily access. The Market is working to have a SNAP/EBT terminal on-site, and will reach out to a wide range of populations through local churches, tourism organizations, food pantries, and shops. We intend to engage residents and visitors alike! The mission of the Cape Charles Market is to bring fresh, locally-sourced produce, meats, eggs, seafood, and artisanal products to the community while supporting the economic growth of the town of Cape Charles.
Tuesday afternoon works well both for the farmers and Cape Charles businesses, so the Market will be held on Tuesdays from 4:00 – 7:00 pm from May 3rd to October 25th. This provides a Market day early enough in the week that tourists have time to purchase local foods and other goods for preparation in their rental houses before their week is over, and because it’s later in the day, it will allow time for residents of the Shore to shop after work. This will be a vendor-produced market, so you can trust what you buy here will be grown or made here!
In order to make the Cape Charles Market a reality, the group is searching for volunteers to help with publicity and organization. We are still gathering vendors too! People who are interested can email at firstname.lastname@example.org , or call Kimb Denny at 757-607-6483 or Karen Gay at 240-393-5625.