An outdoor market sprouts at the Tisbury Wharf Company
A new outdoor market has sprouted at the Tisbury Wharf this summer, and, although it is having some growing pains, vendors are determined to see it thrive. The Tisbury Harbor Market will be opened every Tuesday morning through September from 9 am to 12 noon. Vendors vary from week to week and offerings may include fresh produce, flowers, and baked goods, and an array of Vineyard-made items from jewelry to candles and even books.
"If you get people to come steadily this place would be great," said Kelsey Morris who was doing a brisk trade in Morning Glory Farm corn, tomatoes, and greens this Tuesday. "I have faith in this spot. We just have to get the word out."
Although this was the first week that Morning Glory had participated Kelsey, a summer farm employee from Andover, said the Edgartown farm is committed to being there every week.
Photos by Pat Waring
Noreen Baker, Director of Operations for the Tisbury Wharf Company, came up with the idea for a market at the harbor last fall. She attended a meeting of the West Tisbury Farmer's Market where she received encouragement and promises to participate from several vendors. Ms. Baker is convinced the waterfront property is perfect and is working to advertise the market and attract more vendors.
"I thought it would be a great thing to have a farmer's market on the harbor for local businesses, community members, and especially for passengers on cruise ships and boats in the harbor to be able to come get fresh vegetables," Ms. Baker said. "We want to provide a beautiful atmosphere and opportunity for local people and farmers to sell what they've grown and created to support themselves."
Tuesday morning was chosen so the market would coincide with the arrival of American Cruiseline ships. Ms. Baker said that along with providing the passengers pleasant diversion and convenient shopping, she wants to connect the cruise line's kitchen staff with local farmers so they can serve Island produce onboard.
"Mr. Packer is being very gracious and welcoming in providing space for this purpose," said Ms. Baker.
Ralph Packer, who owns Tisbury Wharf Company, is a farmer himself and very supportive of the venture, she said. The vendor fee is a nominal $200 for a four-month season, with a $100 rebate if the vendor attends regularly. Most of the income goes for advertising.
"This is an ideal location for both the customers and the vendors," said jewelry maker Diana Stewart, sharing a booth with fellow jeweler Kathy Tackabury at a recent market. "I think it's a gold mine."
Ms. Stewart and other vendors said that many potential customers are unaware of the market's existence. But when people discover it they are delighted. Parking at the wharf is more than ample, breezes keep the customers cool, and the harbor view can't be beat. The atmosphere is relaxed, the browsing leisurely.
Glenn Jackson and Heidi Feldman shared a booth packed with Mr. Jackson's yarns, fleece, squash and blueberries. Ms. Feldman showed delicate bouquets and unusual herbs from her Up-Island Farm. Handmade candles and pampering toiletries all made with natural ingredients and scented with essential oils tempted customers at Stephanie Berryman DePaula's booth.
Customers included local residents, people who work nearby, and summer visitors. They had learned about the new market in a variety of ways - from the colorful signs, newspaper ads, and even on the Internet. David Gran and his wife, Kim Sajan, were vacationing with his parents Mal and Harriet Gran. When he went online to read about vacation attractions, Mr. Gran learned about the market. "We wanted to see what was happening," he said.
John Walter, publisher of Vineyard Stories, set out his books under a wide umbrella, happy to have a promising sales venue since the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore has been shut down by fire.
"I hope the market succeeds," said Andrea Quigley of Vineyard Haven, who was chatting with Mr. Walter while browsing through the volumes, "because it would be nice to have something down-Island."