Despite wind and rain, vendors at Charlottesville’s City Market were happy to celebrate the farmers market’s opening day Saturday.
“We really enjoy the farmers market here,” Daniel Page, co-owner of Caromont Farm, told The Daily Progress.
Saturday also marked the market’s 50th anniversary. Sandy Cason, whose family started City Market in 1973, said it’s grown since the farmers market began at the Jefferson School.
“It’s the best market I’ve ever been to,” Cason told The Daily Progress. “There are more vendors than you could ever imagine. They don’t have enough space for all the vendors.”
City Market’s manager, Justin McKenzie, added that the market typically has a waitlist of about 30 vendors vying to sell their goods at the market.
“Before the pandemic, that was probably our highest [number of vendors],” McKenzie told The Daily Progress. “We didn’t really have enough space for everybody.”
Daniel Perry, who owns Jam According to Daniel, was on the waitlist when he finally got the opportunity to start selling his jams at City Market 15 years ago.
“We have room for people to have resources that weren’t available to me back then. And I think that’s amazing,” Perry told The Daily Progress.
A new farmers market has cropped up in Charlottesville since Perry started, too. In 2020, a year-round market at Ix Art Park began. Last year, Perry got a stand there.
Perry said the Ix Art Park market was a boon during the pandemic, when City Market ran as a drive-through farmers market. That made it difficult for customers and vendors to talk.
“A farmers market is not just the buying and selling…it’s that community feeling,” he said.
Page, however, said Caromont Farm was only going to sell at City Market.
“We feel an allegiance to this market. It’s the one we started with,” Page said.