WHAT WE'VE REPORTED The Smyrna Farmers Market opened its inaugural season on June 16 on South Market Street in front of town hall. The project came to fruition after a few months of planning on the part of a small group in Smyrna and AmeriCorp VISTA worker Carly James, who was working for the DEDO office.
There had been a suggestion of starting a farmers market for years, but it didn't become a possibility until Smyrna resident Robin Bruner responded to an email from the Delaware Economic Development Office. At the time, Bruner said the market would be a chance for Smyrna to fill in the gaps for produce not available downtown.
THE UPDATE It's a few months later and the market is nearing the close of its first season. Bruner works as the co-manager of the market along side of Smyrna's Manager of Planning & Zoning Janet Vinc.
Vinc said the market has performed better than expected.
Bruner echoed those sentiments: "Everything we've heard has been really positive and that it is really needed."
Available products have ranged from fresh produce to bread to homemade jams and jewelry among other local items. On average there were 10 vendors each week.
Visitors of the market have been local residents and residents from other parts of the state and even out-of-state, including from Maryland. Bruner said each week they'd see at least one new face.
However, some people said they didn't know there was a weekly farmers market in Smyrna on Saturdays. So Vinc and Bruner said they'll use money made from vendor fees to better promote next year's market.
While the two would like to see more customers each week, Vinc and Bruner feel like their first season went well. The market is encouraging local business to work with the vendors and one vendor is even considering opening a business in Smyrna, Bruner said.
The two said not only is the market providing local products, but also it's bringing business in town to support downtown Smyrna.
"We really can make a difference," Bruner said. "I hope people really understand how important the market is."
WHAT'S NEXT There are three Saturdays left for the Smyrna Farmers Market with Saturday, Oct. 27 marking the last day for this year. The market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
There will be a special market day on Saturday, Dec. 1 in conjunction with the town's Christmas event for the lighting of the tree and caroling.
Though the first farmer's market season isn't quite over, Bruner and Vinc are already thinking about next year's market.
Along with improving on the promotion of the market next year, the duo would like to see the amount of vendors increase to 20 each week. There are even some vendors they'd like to see such as cooking demonstrations.
Vinc said they're looking into possibly having EBT available so everyone can shop at the market.
Vinc and Bruner attribute the success of the market to good planning in the early stages of the project. They hope that the market and success of the July food festival on Market Street Plaza show what can be done with the location.
"The market has become a social activity too. It's a place for people to socialize," Vinc said. "The farmer's market and food festival prove the plaza can be a public gathering place for people in town."
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.