by Ron Stafford
If you’ve been waiting for a good, local farmer’s market to return to your community and also to bring its people together, then your wait is over thanks to Diane Bedlin. With a background in marketing, Diane had an “aha” moment four years ago when she realized Kent Island needed a local market where farmers could sell their produce, meats and other goods.
“I’ve lived here for the last 17 years. There is a bedroom community mentality here, and I’m trying to crack it.” Attending similar market events in Annapolis led Diane to consider a new farmers’ market in Queen Anne’s County. Ideas kept coming as she put the word out and things just started happening and coming together. “I became this food yenta…sort of an Erin Brokovich of food.”
The range of food products available for purchase at the Farmers’ Market is quite large. You can find grass-fed beef for sale, as well as fresh seafood selected from Captain Gaylord Clark of Two Oceans Seafood. The captain owns two fisheries, one located in Alaska and one here on the Shore, and the name of his company reflects the two oceans he fishes for seafood.
Jimmy Reynolds, owner of The Magnolia Bread Company in Sudlersville, offers his products at the market. And Chapels County Creamery is bringing the finest in cheeses and dairy products from which customers can select. The public can purchase products from 11 local vendors selling items such as yogurt, pork, chicken, eggs and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Diane also is looking to attract a hunting vendor to the market.
The Farmers’ Market is not limited to just selling food. You can find other items such as roasted coffees, herbal teas and fresh cut flowers. Lavender farmer Jay Falstad of Calico Fields Farms in Millington offers his selection of body care products. As an added treat, you can listen to great music from local musician Glenn Shining as you do your shopping.
“There is no place like this for farmers right now,” suggested Diane. “I believe this is a venue where the community can truly come together.” Diane believes this market is unique. “If you travel to the Easton Marketplace, you will find relatively few customers due to the high prices.” She expects the farmers’ market to grow beyond a county or Kent Island event. “We have interest in this market coming from outside our county borders.”
The market will be open every Thursday, rain or shine, from 3:30-6:30pm. Diane hopes that it continues into the winter months. “With toll prices rising at the Bay Bridge, we need the community to support this local market and the local vendors. We have a gold mine here. It’s important for local famers to make a buck, and we need to bring a sense of community back to this area.”
The grand opening for the Kent Island Farmers’ Market was held on October 6. It is located at 155 Salitt Drive in the Chesapeake Bay Business Park between the Tilghman and Shippen business signs. You can friend Diane on Facebook and share ideas and thoughts at facebook.com/KentIslandFarmersMarket. You also can contact her at her email email@example.com for more information.