By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(March 14, 2019) The Berlin’s Farmer’s Market will reopen May 5 in a new location, the corner of Pitts and William streets, where it will wrap around the parking area near J&M Meat Market.
Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells said the move from Artisan’s Green, where the market was resurrected last year, was partially because of financial concerns.
“There was a substantial rental fee that we had to pay [property owners] Bay Four LLC and the Mariner family to rent that property. With everything going on with the budget right now, we’re trying to cut back on expenditures,” Wells said.
Instead, Wells struck a deal with Calvin B. Taylor Bank President Raymond Thompson to use the lot, which the bank owns. She said the bank would officially become a sponsor of the farmer’s market and there will be no cost to the town to use the lot.
Additionally, Wells said the new area was ADA accessible, as opposed to the field on Artisan’s Green that would often become waterlogged after rain.
“There were some people who had a difficult time getting around the grassy areas, and when it rains the ground was saturated,” Wells said. “The moles have had their way with that property, and the cost was such a big factor.”
The move, only about 100 yards from the previous location, will also allow for neighboring shops to become a part of the market, she said.
“The number-one thing that people said they really wanted at the farmer’s market was fresh seafood, poultry and beef, and now we have that with the meat market. Plus, with Uncle Jon’s Soap moving over [to Pitts Street], I think it’s going to be a good location,” she said.
“It’s just a good use for the property on Sunday mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with live music and kid’s activities,” Wells continued. “All the farmers from last year have already signed on to come back, and I’ve been getting bombarded with more people who want to join.”
Wells did emphasize that the market “was not about quantity, it’s about quality.” The official tagline is “Real Farmers, Real Farmer’s Market.”
“I don’t want to saturate the market,” she said. “I’ve already got someone who is offering greens, for example, and I have a couple people doing corn and tomatoes, but they’re all different and unique in their own way. Those people were with me from the beginning, so they’re invited back first, and anyone else who wants to join in will be second to my original farmers.
“It is a producers-only market still,” she continued. “You cannot purchase any of your produce or any of your items from elsewhere – you must either farm or create your items,” Wells added.
She said the impact to parking in the area would be minimal, with space for about 20 vendors being used. If there is overflow, Pitts Street would be partially closed to accommodate some additional vendors.
To become a vendor, call Wells at 410-629-1722. For more information on the farmer’s market, visit www.facebook.com/theberlinfarmersmarket or www.BerlinMainStreet.com/farmersmarket.