Residents team to get new farmers’ market in Smyrna
By MICHEL ELBEN
SMYRNA, Del. — A fresh farmers’ market opened in Smyrna on June 16 at the South Market Street Plaza. Shoppers may expect to find local produce, herbs, flowers, eggs, meats, jams and jellies, artwork, jewelry and other local items.
The market will be open every Saturday until Oct. 27 from 9 to 1 p.m.
“Farmers’ markets are not only community spaces for socializing and gathering, but they are also community-sponsored engines for economic development,” said Carly James, an AmeriCorps VISTA member, who is completing her year of service with the Delaware Economic Development Office.
James has worked with community businesses including Main Street Market, Flowers & Vines by Tracy, Debbie’s Country Florist, Sayer’s Jewelers & Gemologists, Heart of Smyrna, and several others to become market vendors.
James said she wanted to emphasize the local food movement during her year of VISTA service.
James took a survey of Smyrna residents and local organizations.
“The community expressed a desire for a farmers’ market in the town, but did not know how to facilitate the process,” she said.
Robin Bruner, farmers’ market co-manager, has lived in Smyrna her whole life, she said.
She said she was enthusiastic about the project but did not know where to start.
“We wanted to do it, but we wanted to do it right,” Bruner said. “Carly really made things start to happen.”
The DEDO, the Town of Smyrna and the Smyrna Downtown Renaissance Association played an important role in sponsoring the market and providing in-kind donations, Bruner said.
Myra Carey, co-owner of the fourth generation Homestead Farms in Smyrna, plans to sell some of her own produce and represent Godfrey Farms, a producer in Sudlersville, Md.
“It’s good community business,” Carey said.
Carey has been an important part in organizing the town’s first market. Her farm and others, like Godfrey’s, will provide the town an outlet for local produce throughout the summer and fall seasons — from fresh blueberries and peaches to sweet corn and tomatoes.
Bruner hopes the market will continue to grow and would like to see “bakers and vendors with coffee and cheese join in,” she said.
The market is now accepting vendor applications to participate in its first season.
Local farmers, processors, artisans and craft workers, and nonprofit organizations are invited to apply.
In addition, youth may apply to participate as junior vendors.
Junior vendors include a group of middle-schoolers who are making crafts from recycled products and a 10-year-old who is selling Italian Ice.
For more information, visit http://www.smyrna.delaware.gov/index.aspx.