The Waldoboro Farmers Market could move from the village to Route 1 next year, one of several changes organizers hope will bring more vendors and customers to the seasonal market.
Waldoboro Farmers Market board members and vendors met at the town office to discuss the future of the market Wednesday, Sept. 20.
During the meeting, public input was sought and possible paths forward for the farmers market were discussed.
Vendors in attendance at the meeting included Barbara Boardman, of White Duck Farm; Renee Grover, of Barstow Farms; Janet Spear, of Spear’s Farm Stand; and Steve Warren, of Pine Street Gardens.
According to Spear, the farmers market is in its fourth year. Cider Hill Farm, on Main Street in Waldoboro, hosts the market from 3-6 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Spear said the market has seen some growth since starting, but she is interested in suggestions to draw more vendors and customers to the market.
“It takes time for a new farmers market to start up and become established,” Spear said.
Boardman said she wants to see the market continue in Waldoboro.
“I’d hate to see the farmers market evaporate,” Boardman said.
The vendors expressed interest in moving the farmers market, potentially extending the market’s hours 30 minutes into the evening, attracting vendors of ready-to-eat foods, and looking into activities such as live music.
Spear said the suggestions would be discussed at an upcoming market board meeting.
When discussing the location, the vendors agreed that Cider Hill Farm provides a nice location and has been very hospitable to the farmers market, but agreed an area close to Route 1 might generate more interest.
“Are we happy where we are? Do we want more exposure? Do we need to change the location, and if so, where do we want to go?” Spear said.
Grover expressed support for a potential move.
“Cider Hill is beautiful. It’s a great place and the kids can run around, but I think it’s too far off the beaten path for people to just swing in. I think visually, if people see it people stop, and I think that would be great for the farmers market,” Grover said.
The town office, Miller School, and a parking lot across from Moody’s Diner were discussed as potential future locations.
Waldoboro Town Manager Julie Keizer said she is open to bringing the farmers market to the town office property as long as the market and parking are far enough away from the bay doors so as not to interfere with emergency services. She said she thinks there will be community support for the idea.
Keizer said she would discuss the matter with Fire Chief Paul Smeltzer.
“If we get out here, maybe we’ll see a little more participation,” Warren said.
Regarding the date and time of the market, Spear said she is in favor of keeping the market on a Wednesday to avoid conflicts with other Midcoast farmers markets.
“Why we chose Wednesday is, it’s in the middle of the week and we felt it’s a good time of day for people getting out of work,” Spear said.
Warren suggested extending the market’s hours by 30 minutes and said customers have expressed a desire for longer hours so they can visit after work.
Warren said he is interested in attracting new people to the farmers market, not just the regulars.
“I’m seeing the same faces every week, very few new faces. It’s not really enough to support things,” Warren said.
Warren suggested getting area nonprofits to set up tents at the market as a way to draw traffic.
“More tents is good, regardless of why they are here. Fifteen tents out front looks a whole lot better than seven,” Warren said.
Spear said the market could be a way to draw seasonal traffic to Waldoboro.
“We need to do something to make Waldoboro a place on the map,” Spear said.