Midweek market opens on Fifth Street

Published 9:23 pm Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Allen Brickhouse, a worker with The Herb Shop, waters herbs in the greenhouse at BCDC. (Contributed Photo/Beaufort County Developmental Center)

Zucchini, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, sunflowers and brightly colored zinnias — the summer crops have come in and to deal with the abundance, a local organization is opening up a new midweek market.
Tonight, the Beaufort County Developmental Center sponsors the first Wednesday Evening Market, where farmers, growers and artisans will be selling their homemade, homegrown and locally processed wares.
Mark Batton came up with the idea when the Saturday Market on Stewart Parkway in Washington, needed a temporary home two weekends in a row and the BCDC offered up its parking lot.
“I felt like we could really be doing the community a service by offering another opportunity for local farmers and vendors to sell their wares, as well as letting the public have an additional opportunity throughout the week to purchase fresh, local produce and products,” said Batton.
Batton is the Horticultural Employment Project Coordinator at The Herb Shop, a BCDC project that provides training to people with disabilities who are interested in working in the horticulture business. The project was launched last summer and according to Batton, has been a learning experience.
“We started last summer but due to (Hurricane Irene) and some other stuff, this is considered our first real season,” Batton said. “We’ve got some better ideas based on what happened last year — it’s an opportunity to expand and grow…I feel like we’ve come a long way in a short period of time.”
Expansion and growth include four 100-foot-long raised beds filled with produce and several more hundred feet filled with flowers. Batton and his two greenhouse assistants, both of whom went through the BCDC’s horticulture training program, nurture plant, produce and blooms from seed to the market table.
Batton feels that events like the BCDC’s Wednesday Evening Market and the Washington Harbor District Alliance’s Saturday Market are essential: spending money on local agriculture and products means Beaufort County money stays in Beaufort County.
The Wednesday Evening Market takes place tonight from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.in the BCDC parking lot, 1534 West Fifth Street, Washington. Vendors interested in selling their goods should contact Batton at 252-946-0151.