New downtown Amelia Island Market Place supported by Fernandina faithful

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Amelia Island Market Place located on North 7th Street

Susan Hardee Steger

Smiles were evident on the faces of the old Fernandina Farmers’ Market faithful as they approached North 7th street to shop at the new Amelia Island Market Place.  And, shop they did!  Reports indicate  the vendors were happy with early morning sales.  Chatter overheard among some shoppers indicated they spent more than usual to support those responsible for the continuation of the market.  It was indeed a happy crowd.


Amelia Island Market Sign

Joe and Elizabeth Lee, heading up the effort, didn’t miss a beat after the sudden closing of the former Fernandina Farmers’ Market.  For the Lees,  having worked through the details  to open a market at South 14th and Lime, it was a matter of a quick location transfer, and appreciated help from individuals who simply stepped forward to volunteer.

The Amelia Island Market Place is currently operating under a weekly special events permit with the city.  City manager Joe Gerrity  at last week’s city commission meeting expressed a sense of urgency to fill the downtown farmers’ market void . “The city made it easy for us to get up and running,” says Elizabeth Lee.

Considering the abrupt departure of the Fernandina Farmers’ Market, a respectable number of vendors appeared.  Some were familiar vendors to the downtown location, and familiar businesses in the historic downtown.   LuLu’s  sold their famous crab cakes,  and Kelley’s Courtyard  sold  pickles and Rosemary Salt.  Vendors Jan, known by regulars as the “Flying Dutchman,” and Ina Zevenboom  with Seven Trees were back selling their succulent plants. Vicki Forton with Olive Affairs says, “ It is a pleasure to be back downtown and to be able to expose more product line to the island. Thank you Fernandina and thank you Joe and Elizabeth Lee for keeping downtown a permanent market location.”    There is confidence among the Lees and the vendors that the island can support two farmers’ markets.

LuLu’s Crab Cakes

As far as what is to come, Elizabeth Lee says, “More vendors will be appearing in the weeks ahead.  Shoppers can expect organic produce, organic meat, and egg rolls along with other new additions.”

September 8, 2012 5:47 p.m.

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Mike Spino
Mike Spino (@guest_1535)
11 years ago

The new FB Farmer’s Market is off to a great start. Especially nice is that local restaurants and shops can market their wares. For some bizarre reason the old market master excluded local businesses. This market has real potential to be better than the previous iteration. Shop local!

Dickie Anderson
Dickie Anderson(@dickie-andersongmail-com)
11 years ago

Great to see something quick and positive come out of an upsetting development for the island’s wonderful Historic District and our amazing locally owned businesses.

Mike Boyle
Mike Boyle(@mikemikeboyle-org)
11 years ago

I have nothing but praise for all of the work Jan Smith did for the “original fafmers’ market.” It was a wonderful addition to our great town, and it brought many new faces to the historic downtown area. But when it decided to move to the South End of the island, I had trouble balancing the reasons given for the move against what I thought I saw during our visits on a weekly basis. It just seems that “there is a piece of the puzzle missing” as to the justification for the move. Having said that, I wish them both successful ventures, and only hope there are sufficient customers to support two locations.

Ann Garber
Ann Garber(@hankspend1aol-com)
11 years ago

So pleased to hear we have a downtown farmer’s market.