After Lora’s comments on my Hump Day post, where she linked to the Baltimore Sun article about the Howard County markets, I have been thinking.
Do we have too many markets? Have we diluted the customer base? How are all the CSAs affecting market visits?
Many friends, other bloggers, readers and hundreds of county residents now get CSA boxes weekly. Add Friends and Farms, and South Mountain Creamery delivery and you have probably thousands of people who no longer buy the bulk of their fruit and vegetables at the markets.
The big CSAs are Breezy Willow, Gorman, One Straw, Zahradka, Love Dove and Sandy Spring. They keep growing every year. We went from about 35 members for Sandy Spring at our one site in Columbia to 59 this summer. My Farms page has links to all the local farms.
Add the pick your own sites like Larriland to the mix, where people who are serious about getting fresh affordable fruit and veggies have made it extremely popular on weekends. It is even crowded on weekdays when we go to pick.
What can be done to increase the visibility, and the profitability of these markets? Something that it seems is discussed quite a bit by the market board and the participants.
Are the hours of 2-6 during the week the right ones? Should it be 3-7 in the heart of summer to help the commuters get there before the good stuff is gone?
I don’t know the answers but any and all thoughts and comments are appreciated here.
I am doing fine in the Buy Local Challenge. I hope others have made that pledge to support our farmers. Will you be joining us for our picnic this Sunday at the Conservancy? A chance to connect with neighbors and friends and share our local goodies. Crossing our fingers that the weather stays nice, and we can picnic in the grove. Otherwise, an indoor picnic looking at the trees through the windows of the Gudelsky Center.