A popular mid-week farmers market is opening up after hours.
Poplar Grove Plantation is staging its first evening marketplace from 3 to 7 p.m. today (Thursday). It’s a trial run for what organizers hope will become an ongoing affair. And Felicia Greene, Poplar Grove’s director of tourism, said it’s a concept borne both out of the success of its long-running Wednesday farmers market, which draws crowds upwards of 700, and an effort to reach working moms, dads and individuals who can’t break from the office to do a little mid-morning shopping.
“The only reason I can shop is because I work at Poplar Grove,” she said, laughing.
All jokes aside, Greene said she and staff at the historic site heard the message, loud and clear, that more area residents would head to the farmers market if the hours were more conducive to their job obligations.
“We’ve had so many comments about work schedules, and we totally understand,” she noted. “So, we wanted to reach out to that market.”
Greene also hopes a later marketplace will draw in Topsail Beach tourists, who often drive by Poplar Grove on their way into Wilmington or on the way back from Wrightsville Beach.
While Poplar’s weekly farmers market, held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. April through the end of September, features lots of local produce and handmade wares, Greene said the evening outdoor bazaar will have a slightly different focus.
“We want this to be a place where you stop on your way home and pick up something for dinner,” she said.
To that end, there will be food trucks on site; Poor Piggy’s will be slinging barbecue today, and Greene said Catch the Food Truck will come on board later this summer. And several area vineyards will be set up for those who want a bottle of wine to accompany their to-go meal.
Although there will be a couple of fruit and vegetable stands onsite, Greene said most of the vendors will be artisans. She added kids can still play lawn games like Cornhole while their parents shop.
It’s an idea the vendors seem to support. Of the approximately 40 regular sellers on Wednesdays, 25 have signed on for today’s event, Greene said. In fact, it was the vendors who pushed to put the plan into action.
“It’s all kind of in place and ready to go,” she said.
The launch of the Thursday evening marketplace will provide a chance for Poplar Grove to get a feel for interest from locals and visitors alike.
“We’re hoping the demand is there,” Greene said.
If all goes well, she said the market will recur in some way, be it weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, until Labor Day.
For more information and updates on Poplar Grove’s farmers markets, visit the event’s Facebook page.
Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.