The cries of local produce growers soon will play counterpoint to the rumble of buses in Severna Park if Councilwoman Diane Evans' proposal to bring a farmers' market to the area comes to fruition.
A plan being explored by Evans, R-Arnold, calls for a portion of a Park-N-Ride lot in Severna Park to be opened to independent county farmers on Saturdays. The farmers would hawk their fresh fruit and vegetables from tables set up on the asphalt.
Under Evans' preliminary plan, no temporary or permanent structures would be built or set up on the property.
Farmers would truck their bounty of tomatoes, onions, melons, corn and other produce to the lot, set up tables, and disappear like modern Gypsies at the end ofthe day, leaving no hint of the heaping baskets of juicy strawberries, succulent tomatoes and delectable corn.
"It shouldn't cost (thecounty) a penny," Evans said, explaining that the growers would pay any costs for cleanup and support.
The lot, operated by the Mass Transit Administration at Ritchie Highway and Jones Station Road in Severna Park, is used by commuters to car-pool and catch buses to Baltimore and Annapolis. It is the primary location Evans is considering for the project, with Kinder Park heading the list of possible alternates. She says the lot is perfect for a farmers' market.
Evans has discussed the idea, which originated with a constituent, with community leaders from the Greater Severna Park Council and the Lower Broadneck Federation, and so far the reaction has been positive.
"I did get a call from Manhattan Beach, and they loved the idea," Evans said. The call from the Severna Park community added to the chorus of approval for the idea from area residents.
"I personally think it's areally great idea. I really think it's wonderful," said Margaret Whilden, president of the Lower Broadneck Federation.
"The people in this area have expressed a need for a market like this. I'm really pleased that Diane really responds to the people in this area, and where she sees a need, she gets right on it."
Pat Troy, president of the Greater Severna Park Council, said members of the group of SevernaPark community associations have embraced the idea, but expressed some concern about the lack of shade at the proposed site to protect the delicate vegetables from sunlight.
Evans doesn't think the sun will be a problem. Citing the example of a farmers' market on Calvert Street in Annapolis, she said, "There's no coverage at the Calvert Street location . . . and I've never heard one complaint from the farmers. Those vegetables go too fast."
Troy hopes the market will giveshoppers and growers an alternative to roadside stands along RitchieHighway.
"There are a lot of people selling produce from the roadside . . . and it can at times cause traffic problems," she said.
The farmers' markets at Calvert Street and another on Harry S. TrumanParkway off Riva Road in Annapolis have been successful, Evans said,and she hopes a market in her district will be as prosperous.
Shewill meet with MTA officials early next month to make the proposal and work out the details. She hopes to have the movable harvest going full swing by the spring, barring any obstacles or objections.
"I obviously don't want to interfere with the purpose of the Park-N-Ride," Evans said.
Nelson Reichart, real estate manager for MTA, says he hasn't talked to Evans and hasn't seen the details of the proposal, but sees no problems with the idea.
"We try to be accommodating as possible in these situations," he said, adding that his decision on his recommendation for the project will "depend on what we talk about next month."
Evans will continue to solicit ideas and reaction from community leaders and MTA officials about operation of the market, but is most interested in talking to the independent farmers in the county and cultivating ideas from them.
Meanwhile, as the November weather tips into temperatures more appropriate for spring, Severna Park residents will have to hit the supermarkets for produce and wait the few months until spring, hoping it brings a healthy harvest offresh carrots, tomatoes, corn, potatoes.