Belhaven makes push to improve farmer’s market

Published 5:48 pm Monday, April 20, 2020

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BELHAVEN — Standing in the heart of Belhaven, tucked between the Wilkinson Center and the old town hall, a simple red-roofed structure provides a place for community gatherings and for local farmers and craftspeople to sell their goods. Coming into the 2020 season, the town of Belhaven is looking for more people to sell at the Market on a regular basis.

“We have not had an organized effort to populate the market,” said Belhaven Town Manager Lynn Davis. “I think, especially given this better understanding now of why we need to be a little more local in our efforts, this is a great time to encourage folks to come out and sell their local produce and products.”

While there have been a number of merchants and farmers who have regularly used the space in recent years, Davis says the town is making a push to bring more vendors to the location on a more consistent basis. The hope is to see the market thriving on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon, and for the space to be available all week for anyone who wants to sell there.

“Initially, we’re going to have people call (the town hall) to let us know they’re going to come,” Davis said. “There will not be a fee unless people need electricity or water, but our idea is they call and register with us so we can spread the word about what products will be there on any given weekend.”

In years past, Davis says there have been a number of vendors who have set up stands to sell produce on the side of the road around town. A decision last year by the Belhaven Board of Aldermen required itinerant merchants to locate their stands at the Market, rather than on the side of the road.

“We’ve had vendors that have set up around town, and what we’re trying to do is encourage use of the market and to give people a central place for people to sell their produce, fruits and vegetables and wares,” Davis said. “We’re trying to make a more organized appeal to our local farmers and crafters to come out and use the market.”

While the statewide stay-at-home order in response to COVID-19 has cast some uncertainty on this year’s opening date for the Market, Davis says she hopes to see the space up and running by Memorial Day. Those interested in setting up shop at the Market can call the Belhaven Town Hall at 252-943-3055 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.