New farmers market to open Wednesday on Hilton Head

bheffernan@islandpacket.comApril 30, 2013 

A new farmers market will sprout up today on Hilton Head Island.

The Shelter Cove Park Farmers Market will host 41 vendors selling produce, baked goods, specialty foods, handmade crafts and made-to-order breakfast and lunch dishes from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Shelter Cove Community Park, behind Piggly Wiggly.

The market is run by the Hilton Head Island Recreation Association and will be open on Wednesdays through Oct. 30.

Wednesday morning was voted as the most convenient day of the week for the market in an online poll hosted by the association, according to event spokeswoman Lacey Van Tonder. The poll included evening times but not weekends, when the park hosts other events.

The opening comes two months after Hilton Head Island Farmers Market organizers announced that their market at Honey Horn would not reopen this summer. The decision to close followed an unsuccessful struggle to get off-premises signs for the event.

The recreation association's decision to open a market was not an attempt to compete with the Honey Horn market, Van Tonder said.

"We had the space available down at the park. It's a perfect spot to hold a farmers market, and we thought we'd take advantage of it," Van Tonder said.

Association executive director Frank Soule said he'd been considering a farmers market for years, but the event wasn't seriously discussed until this past fall. He said the market will have a sign only at the park on Shelter Cove Lane -- the same as for other events the association holds at the park.

Soloman Campbell, owner of Spanish Wells Seafood and Produce, said he was sad to see the market at Honey Horn close.

"Being a native on the island, it brings back a lot of memories that I kind of grew up around ... and it was just beautiful scenery for me," Campbell said. "I hope that all the people who came there will come down to Shelter Cove."

Campbell will have a stand in the park selling fresh Lowcountry-grown produce, such as onions, tomatoes, squash and cucumbers, as well as local honey, jellies and canned Lowcountry gumbo.

Vendors like Campbell will pay $20 per week to sell at the market.

That's a cost well worth the exposure, said Cori Fulton of Cori's Pierogi Hut, who will sell her Polish dumplings at the market.

"We're not Washington, D.C., or New York City, where there's tons of people walking by all the time," said Fulton, who sells pierogi out of her storefront in the town of Port Royal.

Bringing pierogi to the farmers market is an opportunity to introduce her product -- more commonly seen in northern regions of the country -- to people who haven't tasted them before or didn't know they were available locally, Fulton said.

"The market is like taking it to the people."

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