Myrtle's Market opens for business

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Jennifer Grove - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH (WMBF) - Myrtle's Market opens for the season Wednesday as vendors fill their booths with fruits, vegetables, and crafts. Farmers say they expect the produce season to start off slow after a long, cold and rainy winter.

Sarah and Sam Bellamy with Indigo Farms say they are looking forward to the opening of the market.

"When you're growing stuff you're thinking about people," Sam Bellamy said. "That will be the good part about this market."

Bellamy says they are seeing the typical spring crops, but they are a little bit slower this season.

"Every year is different," he said. "This past year we had a very, very cold, wet winter. It made it hard to get in the field. It made it hard for a lot of early season crops that germinate. It was just a little too cold so we got behind."

The market's site manager Neal Williamson says that for some crops, the winter freezes took their toll.

"Tomatoes may be cheap as dirt or they may be sky high," Williamson said.

It is not just the produce that is facing some uncertainty this year. As it stands, the city's proposed budget does not include funding for the market after June. In the past, the city has spent roughly $24,000 every year to pay for advertising and management for the market.

Last year the city opted to trim a day off of the market's schedule so that it was only open two days a week for a short period of time as an attempt to save money.

One option the city is now considering would be to hand the market over to the vendors, but Williamson says that just will not work.

"It's like putting Food Lion and Bi Lo against one another," Williamson said.

The Bellamys say they have faith they can make something work especially since the city has said they are willing to let the vendors continue to use the land for free. They say one possibility would be to have the vendors elect a manager to run the market.

"I have good hopes for it continuing and then I think though that the people of Myrtle Beach really need to express their desire though that the city keep this," Sarah Bellamy said.

Myrtle's Market, located at the southeast corner of Mr. Joe White and Oak Street, is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

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