Bethany Beach community, town committed to farmers market

June 1, 2017

Markets evolve out of the communities where they are based.

This is a belief the Bethany Beach Farmers Market was founded on.

"In 2006, we were very impressed by the Lewes Historic Farmers Market and thought that we needed to have a market for Bethany Beach," said Carrie Bennett, one of the founders of the Bethany Beach Farmers Market and current board vice president.

Bethany Beach Town Council approved the formation of a farmers market for the town because of the groundswell of support from the community and the Delaware Department of Agriculture. Approval from the council soon followed and a decade ago the notion became a reality.

"The coordination with the town is extraordinary," said Bennett. "They're supportive and cooperative and we could not ask for more.

"The town has worked very closely with us," said Doug Mowrey, president of the Bethany Beach Farmers Market, a volunteer organization. They store our volunteer tent, they help set the market up and they help us organize. At closing, they have police presence for traffic and everything else."

The Women's Civic Club of Bethany Beach also provides volunteers to sit at the information tent during the market.

The Bethany Beach Farmers Market is guided by several principles and goals. The market wants to remain as a sell-what-you-grow market.

"We wanted mostly family growers with farms nearby," reads a missive on the market's website, "We wanted farmers who were committed to the principles farm-to-table marketing. We wanted a market experience that allowed maximum interaction between consumers and growers, and we wanted a marketing experience that actually contributed materially to the economic vitality of farming in southeastern Sussex County.

"For Bethany residents and our many vacationers and visitors, we wanted to create an authentic connection between them and the people who grow the food they eat. We wanted to promise locally grown, freshly picked fruits and vegetables, and related products - still growing on Saturdays and served at our tables on Sunday."

Magee Farms
Lavender Fields
Ficner Family Farm
Chapel’s Country Creamery
Hudson’s Produce
Davidson Exotic Mushrooms
Wells Berry Farm
Parsons Farm Produce
Nassau Orchard Flower Farm
Wimbrow Farms
Herbs, Spices, Everything Nice
Fresh Harvest Hydroponics
Old World Breads
Bennett Orchards
Honey Bee Lake Apiary

From 8 a.m. until noon starting Sunday, June 11, the Bethany Beach Farmers Market will feature 15 vendors in the parking lot across the street from the PNC bank.

"We have 15 vendors, and a number of those started in 2007," said Mowrey. "We do not have any plans or any desires to expand our number of vendors because we think it will dilute the success of the market.

"Other markets are much bigger than us," said Bennett. "We're confined to a very small unit of land, and we don't have room for a lot of extra stuff."

Bennett believes that markets evolve out of the communities they are based.

"The consumer interest has only increased," she said. "Our crowds are bigger on Sundays. Our growers are in fact our neighbors, and we celebrate that fact. The market has grown in its strength, interest, town people and visitors.

"The market is so enjoyable to our buyers, as well as our sellers. We're all committed to making it a better experience every single Sunday," said Bennett.

Though the market officially opens when Mowrey rings the bell, Bennett and Mowrey recommend getting to the Bethany Beach Farmers Market as early as you can on Sunday morning because they typically sell out before closing at noon.

Marketgoers should note many of the vendors are cash only; however, there is an ATM across the street.

The market will be held Sundays starting June 11, until Sept. 10.