Crabs and cookies to join fruits, vegetables at farmers market

June 09, 1994|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Sun Staff Writer

Business has been booming at the Jones Station Farmers Market and in a few weeks patrons will have more than fresh fruits and vegetables from which to pick.

A seafood vendor will be setting up shop at the market that is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. on the lot of the MTA park-and-ride station.

"We expect to have live crabs and soft shell crabs," said Tony Evans of the state Department of Agriculture Market Division, which sponsors the market. "We are getting them from a waterman in Baltimore, and eventually we are going to have enough business to get another waterman."

Another new sight at the market will be a bake sale table where local organizations, such as Girl Scout troops or churches, will be able to sell cakes, pies and cookies.

"We are not going to charge them for the space," Mr. Evans said. "It adds a little community feel to the market and helps them raise the money that they need."

This is the third year for the market, which drew as many as 850 customers on a hot summer day last year. The fresh strawberries and other delicacies grown by local farmers are often sold out by 9:30 a.m., Mr. Evans said. Despite those brisk sales, adding seafood and a bake sale table to the market is part of Mr. Evans' strategy to keep building up his clientele.

"You don't pull impulse buyers off the highway," he said. "We need repeat customers."

The market has been opening earlier in the season each year. This year, it opened April 23 to accommodate plant sellers. "Last year we realized that we were not opening early enough to really sell the plants that we had," Mr. Evans said. "We opened in May and, really, by June or so, the plant sales start to dribble off."

Another new addition is the manager, Joe Smith, a Denton farmer. Mr. Smith gave up his Easton podiatry practice several years ago to begin farming.

He grows a variety of vegetables and herbs on his 15-acre farm and has had a booth at the market for three years.

"The reason I took over as manager was because I wanted to have a little say in the market," he said.

"The market has been very good for us and people are buying us out."

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