Resort Farmers Market Working On 21st Season

OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Farmers Market, nicknamed “Shore Fresh,” is marking its 21st year in the resort this summer and continues to stick to its rules of fresh and local, with vendors only allowed to sell what they grow themselves.
“This is our 21st year. We’ve been established for quite a while,” said Market Master Paul Wood.
Wood has been with the OC Farmers Market since it was founded and said that the same is true for several of the other vendors as well. Located at 142nd Street and Coastal Highway in the Phillips Seafood Restaurant parking lot, the OC market features seven vendors who focus on fruit, vegetables and other produce.
Though smaller and more specialized than some other area farmers markets, Wood explained the market has found its niche in having strict standards about what can be sold, making up for quantity with quality.
“You’re buying products that are produced locally by the farmer that produces it,” he said. “We’re not buying anything in from any place else. It’s Eastern Shore grown.”
Having crossed the two-decade mark, Wood is satisfied with how the market operates today and doesn’t forecast any major changes in the near future. Business remains strong, though he admitted that the shifty weather has gotten the market off to a slower start this summer. Between the periods of mild temperatures and the days of heavy rainfall, this summer has made being a famer even more of a challenge than usual.
But the market is still going strong, said Wood. It helps that many of the vendors also participate in other area markets, like the one held in Berlin. This allows a lot of cross-promotion, noted Wood.
He also made a point to give credit to Phillips for allowing the vendors to operate out of their parking lot for so many years.
“Phillips has been very good to us to allow us to use their parking lot at very little cost at all for the last 21 years,” he said.
While the market harmonizes well right now, Wood did say that in the years ahead, should any of the current vendors leave, an effort might be made to find new vendors that offer more diversity in terms of what kinds of products they sell. But any vendors will still only be allowed to sell what they create themselves, Wood promised.
The OC Farmers Market runs four days a week during the summer on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. It operates from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on each of those days.

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