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As the Shallotte Farmers Market enters its sixth year in 2011, a volunteer market manager is sought.
The position is available through the Downtown Shallotte committee.
For the past three years, Linda and Jack Herrick led the way as managers. The couple, involved from the start, has watched the farmers market grow annually.
“We didn’t know anything about running a farmers market in the beginning,” said Linda Herrick. “We volunteered to work with the people who were in charge the first two years. We helped on Saturdays and were like cheerleaders for the town.”
The third year, the Herricks assumed leadership. Just three weeks before opening day, they were told the location in the Jones parking lot was no longer available due to new construction. A new site had to be found.
As Herrick sought a new location, she had several things in mind to make the market more convenient for customers. She wanted a location with two entrances/exits and somewhere with shade.
The market temporarily opened behind town hall until it moved to its current location at Riverside Park at the corner of N.C. 130 and Main Street. Riverside Park offers dual entrances/exits, shade and visibility from Main Street.
The next improvements Herrick sought for the market were a storage facility and flush toilets.
“We needed a storage area,” Herrick said. “It is the volunteers’ duty to help put up tents, tables and signs. We needed somewhere to store everything.”
The town’s vision committee received a grant for more than $24,000 specifically for the development of the farmers market. Funds were used to build a permanent storage building with two flushable toilets, as well as to purchase canopies, tables and publicity. Billboards were put in place and banners were made for Main Street.
“It was really a great thing to be involved with,” said Herrick of the farmers market.
Last year the “Bluegrass Misfits” donated their time and played each Saturday morning at the market. The first Saturday in May typically kicks off the market’s season, which closes in October.
The Herricks have spent 26 Saturdays a year at the market for the past five years and are now ready to turn the reins over to another volunteer.
“It has been a great ride. It is time to retire. I need a sabbatical,” Herrick said with a laugh.
In addition to volunteering as the farmers market manager, Herrick is also a volunteer for hospice and Habitat for Humanity, former president of the South Brunswick Inter-Church Council and vice-chair of the Downtown Shallotte committee and more. She is also an avid tap dancer.
Herrick said she and Jack are looking forward to continuing to volunteer at the market from time to time but not every week.
“We are always looking for volunteers to work on committees,” said Walt Eccard, alderman and chair of the Downtown Shallotte committee.
“They have been great volunteers and have made great contributions to the town. I think the community has really come to value and appreciate the farmers market.”
According to Herrick, the market averaged 300 customers with between 18 and 20 vendors each Saturday in 2010.
“The idea of the farmers market is to provide a place for local vendors to sell their wares directly to the consumer,” Herrick said.
Items found at the market include everything from fruits and vegetables to eggs, honey, tomatoes, baked goods, Irish soda bread, plants, handcrafted art and jewelry.
“It is just a wonderful group of people,” Herrick said. “Many of the vendors have been here from the start.”
Anyone interested in volunteering should contact email@example.com or drop by town hall and leave your name and contact information. The Shallotte Farmers Market is open from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday from May to October.