Farmers’ Market Returns to Courthouse Grounds Saturday for 2019 Season

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Brilliant, bright pink chard sits ready for purchase at the JW Merrell Farm booth during a past Olde Beaufort Farmers' Market. Taylor McCune Photo

After a few uncertain months in negotiations with the county over its use of the Carteret County Courthouse property, the Olde Beaufort Farmers’ Market is preparing for its first market of the year 8:30 am – 1 pm Saturday, April 20.

A legal suit regarding an injury sustained by a market visitor threw the OBFM’s future into question last year, but in March, the county and the OBFM board were able to reach an agreement allowing the market to continue holding the events on courthouse grounds.

According to Executive Market Manager Cindy Bunch, the agreement reached requires the market to pay a weekly fee for electrical use and to be sure all trash and debris are removed from the site each week. The county, in turn, improved the pavement throughout the site and filled in any obvious hazards on the grounds.

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“Obviously, the OBFM and all its vendors are overjoyed with this outcome and are appreciative of the county’s willingness to work with the market. We look forward to a strong working relationship with the county going forward,” said Bunch.

The county was also pleased that an agreement was able to be reached according to Carteret County Manager Tommy Burns.

“The county was delighted that the market agreed to provide adequate insurance coverage for the operation of the market and to indemnify the county for any issues that arise in the operation of the market. The county will continue to evaluate the relationship on a yearly basis and certainly wishes them well in the upcoming season,” he said.

This year’s opening day theme is Earth Day: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. There will be numerous organizations on-site who focus on keeping their businesses earth-friendly and they will be discussing their efforts to maintain their environmentally conscious ventures.

Local elected officials will be in attendance, including Beaufort Mayor Rett Newton and County Commissioners Mark Mansfield and Ed Wheatly. They will be participating in a golf cart parade through the market to aid in the celebration and will conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:30 am followed by some short speeches.

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Market attendees will have the opportunity to purchase food items from farmers with fresh veggies, eggs and meats, local fishermen with fresh-caught seafood and bakers with delicious breads and pastries.

Those looking to do some shopping will find artists and craftspeople with creations made from materials ranging from wood to metal to recycled items. Also present will be merchants with photography, soaps, handmade clothing, lotions and jewelry for sale.

Live entertainment will be provided by local musician Morris Willis and there will be activities for children at the Kid’s Corner tent. Well-behaved furry friends are also welcome to attend the market.

The OBFM will also be selling reusable shopping bags for $1 in hopes of reducing the use of plastic bags by market shoppers.

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In addition to their weekly market, OBFM has several special activities planned for the season.

There will be two dinners held: a Farm-to-Table dinner on May 23 and a Sea-to-Table dinner on October 3.

Both will feature locally grown vegetables with the farm dinner including meat from locally raised animals and the sea dinner featuring locally caught seafood. Both will also have dessert on hand from market bakers.
These will be held at 6 pm on their respective dates at the Harborside Park Deck in downtown Beaufort. Tickets are available for purchase on the OBFM website beginning May 4.