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Palm Coast Friday, Mar. 11, 2022 3 months ago

Flagler Beach's farmers market will return, this time at Wickline Park

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The new farmers market will be on Saturday mornings, with prepared foods, including pastries and coffee, alongside fruits, vegetables and other goods.
by: Jonathan Simmons Senior Editor

Flagler Beach will soon gets its farmer's market back — although this time it will be run by the nonprofit Flagler Strong and located at city's Wickline Park rather than the plot of land that used to host it and which is now the planned site of a hotel.

"You get your muffin and your coffee, do your shopping, and sit down under the pavilion while your kids are on the swings. We want it to be a family morning kind of event."

 

— TRACEY CALLAHAN-HENNESSEY, Flagler Strong president

The new farmers market will be on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. and 12 p.m., with low-volume acoustic music and prepared foods, including pastries and coffee, alongside fruits, vegetables and other goods. Brick-and-mortar stores from Flagler Beach will be able to set up a booth for free, while others will pay $10 weekly rental fee.

"I've got some bakers and some people that will be selling prepared foods, and I've got a guy that does custom blend coffee beans, and he'll be selling coffee," Flagler Strong President Tracy Callahan-Hennessey told commissioners during a March 10 City Commission meeting. "So, you get your muffin and your coffee, do your shopping, and sit down under the pavilion while your kids are on the swings. We want it to be a family morning kind of event."

"This is cool," said City Commissioner Eric Cooley. 

"This is what our town's been missing. We thank you," said Mayor Suzie Johnston. 

Commissioners approved the proposal for the farmers market unanimously. 

Two locals spoke during the meeting's public comment period, both in favor of the new farmers market.

Flagler Strong plans to reinvest the booth rental money into local improvement and beautification projects, and will also sell Flagler Strong apparel at the farmers market to pay the organization's carrying costs, like insurance and a post office box, Callahan-Hennessey said.

A start date for the new farmers market hasn't yet been determined.

Callahan-Hennessey said the farmers market has been an important part of the city in the past. 

"It was part of our small town charm," she said. "Just from word of mouth with the citizens, I think it's something that they really want, and something that they're excited about."

Commissioner Jane Mealy asked if Flagler Strong could bar political booths. Callahan-Hennessey said it will. 

Mealy also asked about the plan for music, noting that the farmers market would open at 8 a.m., and there are homes nearby. 

"My vision was to have like a very low background saxophone, a very low, you know, one steel drum player," Callahan-Hennessey said. "There's some authors interested having some live readings, things like that. ... I'm not looking for any kind of volume. I am looking for just a very low background, acoustic kind of sound, just to kind of give it a cool and different vibe than some of the other markets."

The city's attorney, Drew Smith, noted that since the farmers market would be on city property, the city could set rules to keep music from disturbing neighbors. Police Chief Matt Doughney suggested having the music start at 10 a.m. rather than 8 a.m., and commissioners agreed.

Johnston said the steel drum band had been an important element of the old farmers market, and was quiet enough that if it was playing at one end of the market, you couldn't hear it from the other.

"You could ride your bike to the market, you'd pick up your vegetables, steel drum band was playing — it's what makes Flagler Beach Flagler Beach." Johnston said. "... Thank you for bringing that element back to the farmers market."

Cooley noted that the part of the park Flagler Strong had originally proposed using for the market contains retention areas that would be underwater in heavy rain. Callahan-Hennessey said she'd been informed of that and would shift to upland areas.

"I think it's really going to be a great thing for our community," said Commissioner James Sherman. "I miss having the farmers market there. ... I hope it really takes off, because I'm looking forward to taking my little daughter and wife over there on a Saturday morning. Great way to start your weekend."

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