Farmers Market to get new home in Camden
BY Jim TATUM
The Kershaw County Farmers Market (KCFM) will be moving again –for what is hoped to be the last time — to a new permanent location in downtown Camden.
In fact, if all goes as planned, the market will be ready for the 2018 season at its new home on Clyburn Street in Camden, according to KCFM President Craig Bell and a Place of Learning for Active Youth (PLAY) Foundation Chair Laurey Carpenter.
The Farmers Market was originally located on city property adjacent to Commerce Alley and behind Community Bank in downtown Camden. In 2015, the decision was made to move the market to Historic Camden in order to alleviate parking issues, add more space for vendors and have access to permanent restroom facilities, among other issues, Bell said.
“The partnership with the city was fine, and the partnership with Historic Camden has been good as well,” Bell said. “We simply believe it’s in our best interest to own our own facilities and property — and we like the idea of returning to downtown Camden as well.”
The market opens April 8 and will operate through the 2017 season, which ends in November, at its present location at Historic Camden, Bell said.
KCFM is about to close on property, a little under an acre in size, on the north side of Clyburn Street between Broad and Market streets. Currently, the plan is to build a 130- foot-long by 52-foot-wide covered wooden pavilion capable of accommodating 50 vendors. The building will open onto Broad and run down Clyburn. In addition, more vendors can be placed outside of the building if need be, Bell said.
The main parking area will be on Market Street on a quarter-acre lot the city recently bought for that purpose, Bell said.
The plan also calls for a community garden to be placed at Market and Clyburn Streets, Bell said.
“I’m especially excited about that,” Bell said. “For a very low fee, people can lease a small plot in the garden and grow their own produce, with help from the Kershaw County Master Gardeners — and they can even sell what they grow at the market.”
It’s not only a great way to teach people, especially children, about agriculture and where food actually comes from, but it’s also another focal point where the community can come together,” he said.
Future plans also call for a second market day to be established, he said.
“For many of our vendors, the market generates the bulk of their income, so they like the idea of a second market day,” Bell said.
KCFM also plans to make the space available for rental when the market is not in use. Because it will have restrooms, electrical and other such infrastructure, they hope the community can use it for a variety of purposes, he said.