WILMINGTON — As the city begins to find its normal rhythm following nearly three weeks of recovery from Hurricane Florence, the Riverfront Farmers’ Market announced that it will reopen on Saturday despite the devastation of some of its largest vendors’ farms.
The market will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. downtown Wilmington on Water Street and the adjoining Riverfront Park.
Hanchey’s Produce, which had supplied a large portion of the market’s produce since the Riverfront market launched in 2003, suffered a total loss of crops, equipment, and the homes of three generations of Hanchey family farmers, according to a release.
“They lost everything. They don’t know what to do,” the market’s manager, B.J. Ryan, said on Tuesday afternoon. “We are wishing we had produce, seafood, and eggs at the market, but that’s not going to happen right now. Produce will remain scarce; everything planned for the fall has been wiped out.”
Davis Seafood will not be present as well due to the flooding of its fish house and Davis family homes and destroyed docks.
According to Ryan, farmers and growers were some of the hardest hit by river flooding: Black River Organic Farm sustained major damage to fields, greenhouses, and crops; wind and rain caused heavy damage to fields of flowers and greenhouses at Castle Hayne Farms; Backyard Gardeners, Shelton Herb Farm, and Copper Sun Micro Farm each suffered a loss of crops, plantings, and structures; Beartrack Farms lost product due to power outage; and Orchidscapes received damage to its greenhouse.
“Even though we know we’re short, it’s important for the community to come out and support the vendors who are there, and support the market itself,” Ryan said.
The Wilmington Farmers Market will also be reopening this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tidal Creek Food Co-Op. It’s the second week back for the Tidal Creek market, which features produce, meat, and seafood direct from farmers and fisherman. This week the market will have seafood, poultry and other meat, and vegetables.
Vendors planning to be at the Riverfront market on Saturday include:
- Backyard Gardeners
- Beartrack Farms
- Castle Hayne Farms
- Choco Geo
- Folk’s Cafe
- Gluten Free by the Sea
- Great Harvest Bread Co.
- My Porch Dawg
- Nature’s Remedies
- Nona Bacca Winery
- Panacea Brewing Co.
- Raw Salsa
- Rita’s Wooden Spoon
- Shelton Herb Farm
- Smart Smoothies
- Wooden Things
Those planning to return the following week include Elderberry Syrup by Ruth, Ithaca Acres Creamery, and many local artisans.
In the release, Ryan confronted the harsh reality of the farmers’ losses and urged the community to support the market in the coming weeks:
Our hearts and sympathies go out to all struggling with so much damage and loss. As you can see recovery for some of our market members will be lengthy, some will not be able to participate for the remainder of the season. Most are working hard to clean up, rebuild, replant and get back to the normal operations of the farm and business. We’re hoping for the best for all these hard-working folks, come out to support them!
It is more important than ever to support Riverfront Farmers Market to keep the market functioning! Just as the aftereffects of hurricane Florence leave our market members with damage and loss, the market itself also takes a hit. Less vendors participating means less income to run the market, vendor fees are the only revenue source the market has to cover operating expenses. Please continue to shop the market, support local growers, producers and artisans; support family farms & small businesses; support your market!