Furthermore…

Unable to let rest my recent suggestion to the Town, that of finding a larger, more convenient location for the Berlin MD Farmers’ Market, I decided to head out and investigate other area Markets.

Seems our nearest  (14 miles) Market is in Snow Hill located at the Green Street Parking Lot; held on Tuesday afternoons from 2 – 6pm.  This market then vies for attention with the Camden Avenue (Salisbury) Farmers’ Market (23 miles from Berlin), also held on Tuesday from 4 – 6 pm.  Also, considered within our Worcester County region is the Ocean City Farmers’ Market – a distance of 15 miles from Berlin; held on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday from 8am – 1pm.  Finally, adding a new market to our list: the AGH (Atlantic General Hospital) Wellness Community Farmers’ Market held each week from noon – 4pm.

One would believe that with all of these Markets offering FRESH/LOCAL produce and locally grown goods I’d have little more to say.  Yet I do…except for the new AGH market; these locations require some driving time; distance and GASOLINE; a consideration for every shopper.  More importantly, BERLIN MD is easily the central location – north to south/east to west not including the ocean!  The 21811 zip code boasts a current population of 19,476 – this number does not include the folks who live in West Ocean City – South Point – Newark or the lower end  (60th Street south) of the island – Ocean City MD.  A reasonable guestimate then would be 25,000+ people, who EAT – 2 to 3 times a day, potentially to be served by Berlin Farmers’ Market vendors – our local producers!   With the current focus on eating healthy – fresh/local, is there any question that to offer an expanded market with variety vendors and convenient parking would be worth a look?

Having heard several emotional reactions to my earlier suggestion – most centered on the CHARM of having the market at its present location, I say, “YES, I agree, we have a charming downtown market and I support it every single week with my business!”  However these days, with local producers/growers and consumers having to do much more with much less – the question comes down to ECONOMICS; with future unknowns we cannot continue to ignore – though for which we may prepare. We can’t eat Charm and Charm doesn’t pay the bills; not even the utility bills!

It is time for the folks at the top to take a clear, unemotional look toward the future of our Market with attention toward optimum economic development for area growers COMBINED with service and convenience for our citizens.  Berlin could do better…!

Note: Another, nearer location, has been suggested: the large vacant lot (currently for sale) on Harrison Street: Keeps our market within the ‘walk-able/bike-able’ distance for in town shoppers.