There’s been talk of a farmers’ market in Wellington for several years now, but it wasn’t until Juliann Harvey moved to town at the end of February that talk turned into action.
Harvey, 31, married to Matt and the mother of three children ages 6 through 12, lost no time getting acquainted in Wellington. During a random conversation with a downtown business owner who wants to stay in background, Harvey learned that there was interest in establishing a farmers market in town but to date no one had picked up the baton.
As an event planner and experienced organizer, Harvey lost no time in pursuing the idea, seeking a location, permits, insurance, vendors and procedures for advertising the fledgling market which opens June 12 at Centennial Park, 3815 Harrison St. in the heart of downtown Wellington.
As marketing manager for the market, Harvey will be the go-to person and face of the Farmers Market. A small group comprised of local business owners, still in the formative stages at the time of this writing, will sponsor the Market as their contribution to the welfare of the community.
Vendors will sign up for spaces by the week with a seven-day window, allowing them flexibility according to the produce they have for sale. Fees will be tiered according to items for sale with produce vendors paying less than those selling packaged foods and craft items.
Adopting a suggestion made at a recent Wellington Town Board meeting, where the project received a unanimous go-ahead, Harvey will experiment with varying time slots in June. The market will be open every Thursday through the fourth week in October. In June hours are: June 5, 4-7 p.m., June 12, 7-10 a.m., June 19, 4-7 p.m., June 26, 11 a.m. -2 p.m. This schedule is planned to accommodate early morning walkers in the park and those who work during the day.
The number of vendors will be capped at 50 with some booths reserved each week at no cost for both seniors and young people 18 and under. Anyone interested in purchasing a 10’ by 10’ booth space is welcome to contact Harvey through the website at https://sites.google.com/site/wellingtoncofarmersmarket.
Participants in the adjacent Boys and Girls Club “Got What It Takes” summer program will receive a small stipend for their work in setting up and tearing down the market space in the park each week.
Harvey said the plan is to create a community market with profits going to support the Wellington Middle School After Hours Program. “Wellington residents will benefit by being able to purchase fresh local produce close to home,” Harvey said. She sees the market as becoming an opportunity for residents to stroll around and visit each other as they make their purchases, enhancing a sense of community. She believes the Farmers Market is likely to draw customers from nearby towns as well.
The plan is to have at least 65 percent of the vendors come from Wellington and from within a 7-mile radius of town. A sign advertising the market will be posted at the corner of Harrison Street and Third Avenue on market day. Signs will also be posted at the southwest and northeast corners of the park on market days.
“At this point the Farmers Market is evolving,” Harvey said. “I was delighted to see more than 100 Facebook comments within hours after the plan was approved by the town board.” She welcomes all comments and suggestions.
Harvey’s high energy level and willingness to jump into a new venture has introduced her to Wellington in a very short time. And Wellington stands to gain from her expertise and enthusiasm.