Capital City Farmers Market has new flavors

 

The Capital City Farmers Market has a new logo -- Meet Me at the Market (Submitted graphic)

The Capital City Farmers Market has a new logo — Meet Me at the Market (Submitted graphic)

DOVER — In an era where farmers markets are growing in popularity across the country, the Downtown Dover Partnership noticed that Kent County was lacking this connection. To remedy this, in 2014 the partnership created the Capital City Farmers Market.

“It came about through the partnership taking it on to have a central location somewhere where people can buy fresh and local produce,” said Tina Bradbury, Capital City Farmers Market manager.

The evolution of the market quickly saw a directional change when it started to veer away from produce availability, however. After noticing this change, the partnership began working to revamp their original dream.

Opening for the season on June 15 at the Loockerman Way Plaza in Dover, the new and improved Capital City Farmers Market won’t be just food — it will also be a site for entertainment, education and collaboration.

“We took a whole new spin on the market,” said Ms. Bradbury.

Vendors of all variations will be available to visitors.

“There’s going to be about 25 vendors,” said Ms. Bradbury.

These vendors will range from local produce farmers to olive oil stands to artisan crafts, allowing visitors to buy ingredients for entire meals all from their own neighborhood.

“We want people to be able to come out and utilize their EBT dollars,” she said, referring to the state-issued Electronic Benefits Transfer card. “We’re hoping to grow it into a match program.”

Food trucks will be seen throughout the market on a weekly basis, too.

For the kids, the market will feature the Summer Food Service Program, an initiative developed by United States Department of Agriculture to ensure that low-income children younger than 18 still receive healthy and balanced meals when they are outside of school. As an added bonus, these meals will be free.

“We’re the first farmers market in Delaware to be the site of the Summer Food Service Program,” said Ms. Bradbury. “It’s very exciting.”

Together with the produce vendors and food services, the Capital City Farmers Market has plans to feed both mouths and minds through its weekly educational component.

The first addition to the market, Choose My Plate, is an initiative started by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and aided by the Delaware Food Bank made to help people understand the value of portion control and a balanced meal. Rethink Your Drink, an additional campaign, is targeted at the often over-looked junk drinks.

When paired with the summer food program, the goal is to help children and adults be more aware of what they are putting into their bodies with every meal.

Alongside the nutrition program, visitors will be invited to partake in skin care education through Healthy Delaware, attend couponing classes, preview cooking and meal preparation demos and join a bi-weekly yoga class. Some classes will encourage parents to bring their children so everyone can enjoy the fun.

“We want this to be a place where to come and hang out,” Ms. Bradbury said.

The hope is to benefit all aspects of the community by incorporating different facets of Kent County into the Capital City Farmers Market.

The Dover Interfaith Mission, a Delaware program that helps low-income families secure housing, will sell produce and also create meals out of recent leftovers with the help of local farmers. This cooperation helps both the farmers and the vendors, while providing others with healthy choices for meals.

The objective is, ultimately, to lead to an intimate and personal atmosphere that is often missing at large chain stores.

“You’re getting someone local who is making your cupcake, versus going to a store where they’re already packaged,” Ms. Bradbury said. “You can look and see who grows your stuff, unlike in a store, where you don’t know.”

Eventually, Ms. Bradbury hopes the farmers market will inspire others to grow their own produce.

“We want to generate a local community garden. We want those people to use their crops to come and sell at the market, too,” she said.

With many new goals and even more new components, the revamped Capital City Farmers Market is working to provide something for everyone, be it produce, couponing tips, cooking ideas or a lunch menu.

“Our slogan is ‘Meet me at the market,’ ” said Ms. Bradbury. “We want this to be a place where you can just come and hang out, enjoy a lunch.”

The Capital City Farmers Market will be open every Wednesday from June 15 to Sept. 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. On select Wednesdays, the market will remain open until 8 p.m. for evening entertainment. For more information, visit www.downtowndoverpartnership.com.

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