30 June 2010
Don't Move the Farm Market!
When I returned to this lovely little corner of the Upper Midwest, there was only one local farm market, and it was held in a parking lot along the river. Ducks splashed nearby and geese honked overhead. It was a quiet corner near a busy intersection and if it was not as vibrant as the markets of Europe or the larger college towns that I love so much, it was still a nice little market with a strong sense of place.
Then the mayor had this not-so-bright idea to move it an empty lot off the beaten path. It bombed. A few years later, it moved again, this time to a designated spot with a silly, narrow "marketplace" which was really just a metal awning on posts. In time, the market grew again, but then one year the health department swooped in and closed the stall with the jams and the one with the pickles, and then one by one the growers died or retired or stopped coming to town.
About that time another market started up in another part of town along the bay and over a three-year period, that market grew until it became a small but vibrant venue for local growers, crafters and our small CSA effort.
But it was in a city park and this year, the city decided to charge anyone who wants to use the park for anything, more or less.
A generous businessman whose antique mall provided space for a winter farm market, offered an outdoor site for summer, but a behemoth of a building blocks the summer breeze off the bay.
I still go, of course, and I appreciate the alternate location. What if we had a market and there was no place to put it?
But I find I am cranky about this, and I find the change is hard to adjust too. I go, I chat with the vendors and I enjoy exploring the contents of my CSA box, but I want the bay back.
Maybe I am getting too old for changes like this.