Vendors switch places when City Center Farmers Market cancels

April 14, 2019

FLORENCE, S.C. — An ominous weather forecast and threatening skies had a mixed impact on Saturday’s planned events —some canceled while others persevered.

One weekly event, the City Center Farmers Market, canceled and then kind of happened anyway, across town.

Some vendors went to Naturally Outdoors on Palmetto Street.

And while the skies remained threatening, and the forecast no less ominous, the rain mostly held off and business trickled in throughout the morning until 1 p.m. when the market closed.

“We’re here on Thursdays anyway so it’s easy; we knew we had the setup. This is the first time these guys have been here and they kind of like it,” said David White of Maypop Farm, the City Center Farmers Market’s anchor tenant.

Maypop Farm also sets up at Naturally Outdoors on Thursday afternoon under a shelter that’s considerably more sturdy than what is currently available at the downtown market, which sets up on a portion of the City Center’s parking lot.

The market plans to move a couple of blocks away to to a permanent facility that will offer indoor market space.

“The new place, you won’t have to call it on weather so much,” White said.

“There are a bunch of people who are glad we’re open and I’m glad we’re open because I have a perishable product,” White said during a break in business. “I have milk I have to sell; (Harold) Ellerbee has vegetables he has to sell.”

“I knew I had a ton of stuff that was ready to be sold so I said I’ll join you,” Ellerbee said of his invitation to sell at Naturally Outdoors.

“It was kind of a last-minute decision but it’s worked out. I sold quite a bit of stuff. I’m pleased,” Ellerbee said.

Andrea Caputa with Angel Craft Bakery also jumped at the chance to sell off site.

“I was in the middle of preparing anyway,” Caputa said as she surveyed her wares — loaves of bread and a basket of rolls.

One of her breads takes 26 hours to prepare, and that’s the one with the shortest preparation time, she said. So she was well into preparing for Saturday’s market when it was called off because of the weather.

“I decided to come and try to sell it,” she said as White purchased several loaves of her bread.

“It worked out well,” White said of the weather and the business. “We’re here Thursday afternoons so I invited these guys, they can join us Thursday afternoons too if they want.”

While Saturday morning and early afternoon’s weather spared the Pee Dee the forecast for Sunday remained threatening.

Mike Kochasic, with the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, N.C., said “showers and storms will kick up again this (Sunday) afternoon into evening. Some of the storms Sunday night into Monday morning could have damaging wind potential and hail.”

The greatest threat of damaging storms is along the Interstate 95 corridor and west, he said, with storms expected to weaken as they move east of the interstate.

Sunday’s forecast is Palm-Sunday-friendly with a slight chance of showers before 11 a.m. with an ever increasing chance of rain as the day goes on with a 100 percent chance of showers Sunday night.