From the Historic Lewes Farmer’s Market

by Dave on February 4, 2009

2009 Dates

May 30 to October 10
8 to noon

Hello to all friends of the Historic Lewes Farmers Market!

A farmer friend of mine tells me that spring is in the air, and as the days get longer, and we have a few warmer days, I start to think about how great the early asparagus, strawberries and lettuces will taste in late spring. Meanwhile, we have been very busy already preparing for the new season.

New Dates for the 2009 Season

At the end of the market last year, many of you told us that you wanted the market to be longer. We heard you, and this year the market will be open much longer, so that you can come to market from May 30 to October 10. Most of the vendors from last year will return, and we have signed up a number of new vendors who will provide some very special items not found at the market last year. Your market is part of a growing trend in this country. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service reported in September that farmers markets continue to expand, reaching a total of 4,685 markets by August 2008. This is a 6.8% increase since mid-August 2006.

PASA Scholarships Awarded
In January, we awarded two $500 scholarships to local farmers to enable them to attend the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture Farming for the Future Conference this month. This is the second year we have awarded these scholarships to local farmers as part of our mission to promote and strengthen local small farmers dedicated to sustainable agriculture. Winners of this award are Bruce Pape of Deep Grass Nursery and Tim Bell of Community Organics.

Bruce Pape has been farming for over 25 years and Deep Grass Nursery has over two decades of experience in organic farming. Deep Grass is a Certified Organic Farm. He will attend the conference in order to interact with farmers interested in organic transplants to learn what works and what doesn’t in organic farming.

Tim Bell of Community Organics, a Certified Naturally Grown farm, is committed to sustainable agriculture and the restoration of healthy soil. He will attend the conference to get ideas to improve efficiency and production, and to gather information for weed control and goat husbandry.

Both farmers will present what they have learned to other farmers at our annual Farmer’s Workshop to be held February 28 at Lavender Fields Farm.

March 13-Join Us for Dinner at Fish On
The good folk at Fish On Restaurant in the Villages of Five Points are putting together a special “Farm to Table” dinner on Friday, March 13, from 5pm to 9pm. There will be the regular menu plus a very special menu featuring local ingredients. No reservations are needed, and part of the proceeds will benefit the HLFM. So join all of your farmers market friends for dinner that night. Should be a heck of a lot of fun, and we will definitely wander from table to table to visit.

March 28–Teller Wine Expo & Benefit
On Saturday, March 28th Teller Wines with have their 6th Annual Wine Expo & Benefit at the Lewes Yacht Club from 1 to 4pm. I went to the benefit last year and it was a great event with over 100 top-notch wines to taste and really great gourmet food (appetizers and small bites). This year, the proceeds from the event will benefit both the Historic Lewes Farmers Market and Delaware Hospice. Tickets are $60, and they sell out quickly. For tickets, call 302-644-7400 or pick them up at Teller Wines, 1201A Savannah Rd. in Lewes.

Sussex Consortium Grant
As you know, the HLFM has partnered with the students of the Sussex Consortium and their teachers to help them grow their large organic garden on the school property. Last year they harvested the crops from that garden and sold the vegetables and herbs at our market. To help them get a head start this year we have given them a grant of $309 so that they could build cold frames and compost bins. Look for their produce at the market in May.

Women in Ag Conference
On January 22-23, the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension hosted the 8th Annual Women in Agricultural Conference in Dover. The HLFM was part of a panel on Friday titled Selling Direct: A Strategy for Hard Times. This workshop was the best attended at the conference, and the room was packed with women farmers interested in learning more about the opportunities available to selling at community farmers markets. Reported sales to the Delaware Department of Agriculture last year totaled almost $800,000, meaning that farmers market sales almost doubled from the sales reported in 2007, and they will continue to grow this year, even in this challenging economic climate.

New U.S. and Delaware Secretaries of Agriculture
A lot has happened since we last wrote to you. Our new President was inaugurated and he has chosen Tom Vilsack as the Secretary of Agriculture. Secretary Vilsack is Iowa’s former governor and is known as a proponent of renewable energies. Many believe that he will pay more attention to that part of the farm bill (remember that?) that deals with energy-giving grants to farmers for upgrading efficiencies on the farm such as irrigation systems, and adding wind turbines, solar farms, and methane digesters. (For all of you eager to know the definition of a methane digester, it is a wastewater and solids treatment technology. When it is used on a farm, it processes animal waste under anaerobic (without oxygen) conditions yielding methane gas and reducing the volume of solids and treated liquids. The methane can then be sold or used to generate electricity on the farm. The solid matter left behind can be used as a soil amendment.) Secretary Vilsack has recently ordered tougher scrutiny of American farm subsidies, so we shall see how that goes.

The other new Secretary is Ed Kee, who was chosen by Governor Markell to serve as the Delaware Secretary of Agriculture. Ed Kee lives in Sussex County on a farm near Lincoln and worked for many years as a University of Delaware vegetable crops specialist. What you might not know is that Ed Kee was essential in the birth of the HLFM by helping us contact small farmers who might be interested in selling direct at farmers markets. We are delighted that Governor Markell chose such a friend of small farmers for such an important post.

Organic Farm at White House?
Would you like to see an organic farm at the White House? We sure would. There is a project afoot by The White House Organic Farm Project to do just that. This is a non-partisan, petition-based initiative to respectfully request that President Obama oversee the planting of an organic farm on the grounds of the White House. If you would like to know more about this project go to The WHO Farm.

What About the Hoedown?
Many of you have been asking about the Hoedown date for this year. We have decided to skip a year and host the next Hoedown in 2010. However, we are planning a series of events that will happen all over Sussex County on one night in May that will knock your socks off. More information later.

February 14-Lewes Winter Fest Block Party!
Don’t forget that Lewes is celebrating Valentine’s Day. Visit the commercial area of Lewes for Valentine’s specials and prizes. Look for the Hunt for the Hearts Game, which will lead you to a grand prize. And, best of all, please attend the annual Pet Pageant which returns to Bank Street at 2pm. Lots of pets, lots of costumes = a good time!

Here’s to green peas coming soon (well pretty soon).

-Helaine Harris for the Historic Lewes Farmers Market
Historic Lewes Farmers Market
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 185
Nassau, DE 19969

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