A Fresh Idea For Sullivan’s Island
With one good idea and 150 signatures, Sullivan’s Island grew its own farmers market. Thanks to resident support and a central location, vendors are back for a second year. By Kimbermarie Faircloth. Photos by Steve Rosamilia.
The Sullivan’s Island Farmers Market kicked o its second season this April. ‑ e sophomore year sees new and returning vendors offering vegetables, cheese, baked goods, crafts, art and live music. ‑ e market, which takes place every ‑Thursday from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. through June 29, is centrally located in front of Battery Gadsden, at 1921 I’on Avenue making it walkable for many residents.
“This year we will have even more vendors, including additional on-site consumable food and kid activities,” Sarah Church, town councilmember and driving force behind the market, says. “Sullivan's Island is a perfect place for a farmers’ market because of its strong sense of community. It’s nice to have a gathering place for residents to come together and support our local vendors. Several of our vendors are actually island residents,” Church says.
The market was the brainchild of island residents Mike and Joan Noll. While selling plants through their Plant ‑ e Earth nursery at other local farmers markets, they wondered why Sullivan’s Island didn’t have a market of their own. Noll collected over 150 signatures and presented his idea to the Sullivan’s Island Town Council.
“The market was a smashing success for a first-year market and I was happy to be a part of it,” Noll says. “Several first-year markets in the tri-county area have fizzled out due to lack of interest from the managers, vendors, or visitors and residents. Our managers were quick studies and worked diligently to plan and participate, while vendors were committed and professional. Best of all the residents and visitors displayed a huge show of support with their repeat visits throughout the market season from April through June.”
The market is a community-centric event and “designed intentionally to be small and for the islands,” Lisa Darrow, market manager, says. “We felt comfortable that the market was something we could support,” she says. “This is a benefit for the community and I enjoy watching residents connect together... the way people live nowadays, there is not as much of an opportunity to meet up.”
Returning vendors attest to the prime location of the market: shady trees, open space and centrally located so islanders don’t have to go far for fresh produce. Gruber Family CSA Farm of St. George, South Carolina is happy to be back for a second year. “I think the local people like the market and we get them some fresh, homegrown produce,” Stanley Gruber, owner and farmer, says.
Blue Pearl Farms, another repeat vendor, from just up the road in McClellanville sells its fresh blueberries and blueberry compote at the market. Farmer Robert captures the Sullivan’s Island Farmers Market in a nutshell: “It’s not easy to open a farmer’s market anywhere. It was fantastic.”