Farmers Set Up New Market For Wares

June 30, 1991|By June Kurtz | June Kurtz,Contributing writer

ELDERSBURG — A bright yellow sign at the side of the road announced the opening of a new attraction: "South Carroll Farmers Market Today," the sign read.

Organizers of the market hoped the sign would draw attention to the five vendors and their wares, which were set up at a new site for the first time Wednesday -- on a grass lot adjacent to the library.

So far, it has worked at least once.

"I was coming over to themall and noticed the sign," said Charlotte N. Geller of Randallstown. "It's a good location."

In April, the General Assembly approved a plan to allow farmers markets on county-owned property, paving the way for the commissioners and a group of farmers to arrange the SouthCarroll market.

Organizers of the market said this location is safer and more noticeable than the previous location, on the grounds ofDairymens Inc., an Eldersburg dairy co-op.

"We just didn't have the traffic patterns out there," said market manager Lila C. Weaver. "We really worried that that was a dangerous spot. We always had to bewatching for the kids."

At the Dairymens site, the parking lot was beyond the market, which lined the sides of the driveway to the cooperative, said Valerie J. Piechocki of Eldersburg, who works across the street from the new market.

"I think the new location is going to be much better," said Piechocki, with a fresh head of broccoli in hand. "I'll be here a lot."

Other shoppers agreed.

"This is a vast improvement for the customers," said Marie E. Luttrell of Sykesville. "There's ample room for parking; there's lots of room to walk around."

In addition to the safer set-up, with parking allowed on the grass lot in front of the market, the site has some built-in advantages, including several nearby neighborhoods and Carrolltowne Mall.

Although business was slow in the early hours of the market, vendors hope that the word will spread about the market and sales will increase.

"You gotta give this a chance to get started," said Karen E.Shaw, who has a 146-acre farm in Taneytown. "It's a visible corner, and I think its going to be a matter of getting word of mouth around."

"It's going to take us one whole Wednesday and one whole Sunday to let people know that we're really here," Weaver said.

Freida R.Unger, who was selling fresh blueberries and sour cherries from Unger's Fruit Farm in Hampstead, agreed: "Once they get started things will go great."

Another farmer, whose table was decked with squash and cucumbers, said business will increase when the corn and tomatoes are ready for sale.

"In my mind, it'll be at least two to three times what it was (at Dairymens)," said Andy Schneider, who has a 200-acre farm near Sykesville. "There's a lot of people in this area; the demand is here.

"I expect it to pick up once you get the big items," he said. "When you think of summer, everybody thinks of sweet corn."

There are seven permanent farmers who will sell fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs at the market, and Weaver said she is looking for additional vendors, particularly someone who would sell baked goods.

The market, supervised by the county's Department of Parks and Recreation, is open on Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. and Sundaysfrom 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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