Wednesday, February 9, 2011

If it's Wednesday, this must be the Farmer's Market

Alachua County has a farmer's market six days a week, but the crown jewel, in my opinion, is the Union Street Farmers Market on Wednesday 4-7.

I know, the Saturday market has its fans, but this business of closing when the produce runs out means you have to get there no later than 9am on a Saturday & what with dogs & horses & so forth I have trouble getting anywhere by 9am any day of the week.  Therefore I have never made it before half the vendors have packed it in so it just didn't look like much.  The Monday market at Tioga also seems to be growing (& it is closer to me), but my Monday's are already crammed.  As for the markets in High Springs & Alachua township. you can see how I might not have made it to them more than once, more than a few years ago.

The Union Street Farmers Market is not on Union Street, they outgrew that location quite some time ago, & are now at the Bo Diddley Plaza.  About a yer ago there was a campaign to bring people to the downtown area & the idea was floated that the unused Bo Diddley Plaza (unused per the organizer except for the handful of times of year there is an outdoor concert or on Fridays in the summer when they show free movies or the three different annual street festivals...) should perhaps be taken down & sold/rented to something that might make the town some money.  This was shouted down pretty quick by the farmer's market people & it was quickly understood that the people/person suggesting this did not actually spend all that much time downtown.  It probably also helped that they crunched the numbers & it turns out that short-term leases on very small lots (say the size of a metered parking space in time slots of 20-40 minutes) already net the town about as much as they could expect to see in the early years of any proposed development project & probably quite a bit more, once you factored in the kinds of costs other such proposals actually cost (as opposed to proposed cost).  Then the economy tanked & enough other projects stalled/spaces opened up that it has not come up since.  On the other hand, when all the students are gone, when & basketball are out of season on the rainiest coldest Wednesday there ever was in this part of the country, the plaza is always hopping.

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