By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(May 14, 2020) Windmill Creek Vineyard and Winery is expanding, in a way, with the addition of its own farmers market from 4-7 p.m. every Friday.
Located at 11206 Worcester Hwy, the vineyard already sells wine and offers community gardening, but more can be done with the 12.5-acre property, owners Barry and Jeanine Mariner, along with daughter Brittany, said. To that end, they have been inviting local vendors to sell everything from cookware, paintings to self-care products and, of course, wine.
“We thought about doing it last season, but we were so swamped when we opened,” Brittany said. “Then this whole coronavirus thing came out and obviously we had a little bit more time on our hands. So, we were able to put all this into effect.”
The family wanted to hold an open market in the afternoon, since most other markets take place in the morning.
“I’m encouraging people to go to all the markets,” Barry said. “I think the open air is the way to go.”
The Mariners have been making the best of the covid-19 situation, selling their wines and homemade meals through carryout and delivery and allowing 69 10-foot x 20-foot plots to be used for commercial farming.
The first market of the season took place last Friday with 10 vendors, though a few more had arranged to participate but canceled because of the weather. Still, Brittany said the inaugural edition was successful.
“We had an awesome turnout, honestly … way more than we expected,” she said. “But we were able to manage the crowd and keep social distancing in mind. All the vendors seemed very happy. I knew a couple of them completely sold out.”
More vendors are expected to join, with the family planning to have anywhere from 15-20 participants, including some vegetable farmers, at each market regularly. As the market grows, the Mariners plan to work on better parking and location spaces for vendors and customers.
The Mariners are following the guidelines created by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, with attendees being advised that they must wear masks at all times and should not bring their pets or children to the market space. Guests are advised to bring no more than two people per group during the restrictions.
“We are trying to keep with the regulations and keep everybody be safe and healthy,” Brittany said. “We’re not telling them that they can’t bring them, but it’s discouraged … we want to keep the market as limited in crowds as possible.”
This being said, the market is being kept primarily on the right side of the property, so those who do have children or pets may bring them to the winery, but must remain on the opposite side of the market space.
“We don’t want to discourage people from bringing out their kids to get some fresh air,” Jeanine said. “We just don’t want them all congregated together inside the market area.”
The Mariners plan to continue with the farmers markets every Friday after the stay at home order and other restrictions are lifted, and hope to make it a permanent part of their Friday activities, where they usually have live music and wine tastings.
“We’re going to actually be doing the Friday night music like we usually do and we’ll have that going on during the market so people can wander around, drink wine on the property, do some shopping … it should be a good time,” Jeanine said.
For more information about Windmill Creek Vineyard and Winery, visit www.windmillcreekvineyard.com or call 410-251-6122.