Farmers' market to move to Cockeysville

Pennsylvania Dutch center plans to reopen in summer

Westminster

April 15, 2004|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Westminster's popular Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers Market will close its doors by the end of next month to prepare to move into a vacant grocery store in northern Baltimore County this summer, its manager said.

The new farmers' market will be in the old Metro Food Market space at Ashland Marketplace in Cockeysville, said Nancy Boltz, the market's advertising and public relations director.

The farmers' market, open Thursday through Saturday, plans its last day at its present site May 29, she said. The market lost its lease after 11 years at the Crossroad Square Shopping Center at routes 140 and 97.

After losing their lease, Boltz said, officials looked at several places in Westminster and in Carroll but found nothing suitable. The sites were too small or inconveniently located for customers, who come from throughout the Baltimore area.

"Every effort was made to stay in Carroll County, even to looking at pieces of land to build on," Boltz said. "Our first place to look without a doubt was Carroll County. ... After almost 12 years of developing a customer base, you don't just wave goodbye."

Before the closing, Boltz said, there will be two weeks of sales to avoid moving items to the new location - which is in the 11100 block of York Road south of Ashland Road, just north of Valley View Farms and about 22 miles from its current site.

Plans are for the market to open in Cockeysville this summer with almost all of its 42 current vendors, Boltz said.

The vendors who are not moving - some are retiring, some relocating - include a stained-glass maker, a collectibles dealer, a coffee shop and a furniture maker, she said. But an Amish furniture maker has signed up for space.

"New people want to join us. They've been coming in out of the woodwork, asking if there's any more space ... one or two a day. They obviously think that's a great place to be," she said, adding that the current vendors want more space. "Lots of people are getting bigger."

Food preparation fills much of the market space, and heat from the bakery goods and roasting chickens creates a problem with inadequate air conditioning, which should be improved in the newer building, she said.

Rumors about the market closing had circulated periodically for years but were confirmed last month.

"It's certainly a loss for the community," said Westminster Mayor Kevin E. Dayhoff. "I certainly enjoyed the Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers Market.

"A lot of folks really enjoyed going there. It certainly attracted a lot of folks to our community. It's a destination," he said. "You never know what you've got till it's gone."

The city tried to help the market stay, Dayhoff said, "but finding a retail space that large in our community - it's hard. ... I just wish we could have found some place for them."

Several regular customers interviewed last month said they hoped the market would stay in Westminster but would travel to its new location. Metro announced the closing of the Cockeysville grocery store in April 2001, soon after it had opened on land that was once Valley View Farms.

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