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Jun 30 2016

Sullivan’s Island’s Inaugural Farmers’ Market Deemed A Success

By Mimi Wood, Island Eye News Staff Writer

Photos by Steve Rosamilia

Stanley Gruber

Stanley Gruber

A detectable sense of disappointment pervaded the Sullivan’s Island Farmers’ Market on June 30— disappointment that it was the final market of the summer. By all accounts, the inaugural season was a smashing success; the refrain from residents and vendors alike is “We want more!”

Elissa Childers of Culinary Creation

Elissa Childers of Culinary Creation

The market is the brainchild of local nurseryman Mike Noll and his wife, Joan. In selling plants from their Plant the Earth Nursery at other markets, they wondered why Sullivan’s Island didn’t have one. Collecting over 150 signatures, Noll presented a petition, along with his idea, to the Sullivan’s Island Town Council.

Musician Pete Valencia

Musician Pete Valencia

Armed with research on other area markets, and some suggestions of how Sullivan’s could be run, Mike noted how the infrastructure was in place and that the market would be a “budget neutral” undertaking. In an example of small town living at its finest, the council bit, assigned the project to the Recreation Committee, and the market debuted on April 7, 2016.

Jeanne DeCamilla of Olinda brand olive oils

Jeanne DeCamilla of Olinda brand olive oils

The market’s small(ish) size made it unique, along with the variety and quality of vendors. In addition to locally sourced produce, seafood, and ‘craft’ foods, a diverse array of artisans offered the fruits of their talents, as well as a smattering of non-profits, and junior vendors.

John LoConte gets some local shrimp from Andrew Hiser

John LoConte gets some local shrimp from Andrew Hiser

In an interview on his 62nd birthday, Noll exclaimed that the Sullivan’s Island Farmers’ Market has been the “most friendly, community-uniting endeavor in recent history.” Seeing the social interaction between long-time neighbors and newcomers has been “inspiring”.

Addie Spann

Addie Spann

Islander Jen Snyder was visibly deflated when she learned the last market was scheduled for June 30. “I come as often as I can, for the fresh, local produce,” Snyder said. “I think it’s really important to support the local farmers.” A conviction held by Noll as well, “We need to do more for our farmers.”

Kerry Goldmeyer and Kelley Hwang from Clemson's Home and Garden Information Center

Kerry Goldmeyer and Kelley Hwang from Clemson’s Home and Garden Information Center

As word began to leak that the market was running for only 13 weeks, islanders have begun to sign another petition, requesting the Town of Sullivan’s Island extend the market until Labor Day, at least. Sadly, that won’t happen this year.

Emily Richardson of Emerson Row peeks out the window of her Airstream.

Emily Richardson of Emerson Row peeks out the window of her Airstream.

Sarah Church, Chair of the Recreation Committee, explained that the council decided to ‘test the waters” before launching a full scale, season long market. “Between the increased tourist traffic in the summer, and the fact that many of our locals travel elsewhere, we wanted to give it trial, then regroup and evaluate,” Church said. The market was received “very well within the community,” with Church adding that the “response from islanders has been incredible!”

Mike Noll of Plant the Earth nursery

Mike Noll of Plant the Earth nursery

Next step? The Recreation Committee will meet and make a recommendation to the full Council on whether or not to resume the market in the spring of 2017. If you missed it this year, take heart. “Everyone’s excited,” Church said. “I would be shocked if it doesn’t return.”

Vanessa Plante of Gelati Moto serves up a treat for Caroline Lynch.

Vanessa Plante of Gelati Moto serves up a treat for Caroline Lynch.

Amy Cox with son Brett and their dog Stella

Amy Cox with son Brett and their dog Stella

Mila Kosmos tucks in to some market goodies.

Mila Kosmos tucks in to some market goodies.

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