Produce-only market coming to Roanoke in June

Posted Monday, May. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Roanoke officials are hoping a farmers market will be up and running in June at Austin Street Plaza.

A market was originally planned to open in May until differing opinions about the market’s vision occurred between city officials and the market manager, Elizabeth Goodson, who also oversees the farmers market in Haslet.

Roanoke City Council approved the item during a November meeting.

City Manager Scott Campbell, who was hired in January, said at the time the item was approved, a vision for the market was not clear.

“We started getting input from the business community and the citizens and we were concerned that the product they were going to provide was too big,” Campbell said. “We want a quaint, produce-only market.”

Campbell said instead of a community market, which has vendors selling packaged food items and non-food items such as crafts and jewelry, city officials wanted a market that would sell only fresh produce.

“We wanted something to fit nicely with our existing merchants and not something competitive with our existing merchants,” he said. “That may not have been communicated. We started talking to the Goodsons to limit what we could have and we just ultimately couldn’t come to terms with what the final product was going to be.”

Goodson said when she first got the permit for the park and the market, it was a permit for food and food related items.

“I had 18 vendors ready to go,” Goodson said.

Goodson said the vendors sell items such as gulf seafood, Texas beef, poultry, fresh produce, cheeses, breads and olive oil.

“But then I was told nothing could be prepacked and prepared,” she said. “The meat is prepackaged, the seafood is frozen.”

Goodson said she was told her pasta vendor could sell only dried pasta but not sauces because they were prepackaged. She said her bread vendor could have bread but no other baked goods.

“Frankly, after the products were eliminated, the vendors dropped out,” she said. “I am extremely disappointed, and so are my vendors.”

Goodson said her vision of the farmers market is something that creates an experience for the shopper and brings additional traffic to the downtown area at a time when there is little to no traffic.

“It would give the shoppers the opportunity to see what Roanoke has to offer,” she said. “We have found customers come not for just a single item, they come for the experience.”

Campbell said after city officials met with a couple of market managers they selected brothers Keith and Kraig Copp of Ponder.

The market will be open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon beginning June 1 through October at Austin Street Plaza, 221 N. Oak St.

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