By MADDY VITALE
The abundance of Jersey farm fresh veggies and fruits could have been the reason. Or, it could have been the location — Ocean City — during a summer of nearly continuous sun-splashed skies.
Then there were the many crafters selling plenty of household items, as well as clothes, artwork and jewelry.
Likely it was a little bit of it all that led to a banner — if not — best season for the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce Farmers & Crafters Market.
The popular market opened June 15 on the Ocean City Tabernacle grounds at Sixth Street and Asbury Avenue. It was held each Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. But Wednesday, sadly, marked the end of the season until next June.
“Vendors said it was their best season ever,” noted Chamber employee and Farmers Market manager, Rose Savastano. “One vendor said even to the last day she was busy.”
Each year, the market offers shoppers an array of fresh vegetables, fruits, fresh herbs, fresh flowers, homemade baked goods, sauces, jams and crafts, all from local farms and vendors, in addition to many other treats.
Even on the last day of the popular tradition, which is in its 24th year, the crowds strolled along the farmers and crafters tents. They loaded up on all things Jersey fresh with prices that were lower than in the grocery stores.
Shoppers parked in the near full lot at the Ocean City Tabernacle to catch the last Farmers Market of the summer in the resort.
Otis and Marce Harris, of Dover, Del., who were visiting friends in Ocean City, had their eyes on the produce, specifically the robust looking, ripe tomatoes.
“This is great. There is a wonderful variety,” Otis Harris said as he held up a basket of tomatoes. “It’s nice to have a place like this when you’re staying in town.”
“It’s like a touch of home,” Marce chimed in.
Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michele Gillian said the weekly summer market offers a wonderful activity outdoors, while also highlighting local farmers and crafters each year.
“We have great farmers and crafters in the market,” Gillian said. “The market started off very small and it has grown to what it is now.”
Gillian added that the tradition of the market complements the boutique-style businesses in the Downtown district along Asbury Avenue.
“This just adds to the Downtown ambiance,” she said. “People go to the market and the Downtown.”
Lydia and Charlie Brennan, of Philadelphia, and their daughter, Kate Brennan, of York, Pa., with her 2-year-old son, Iggy DeCandia, had something else in mind besides the fruits, veggies, pies and crafts.
Iggy gave them no choice.
He smiled and pointed at the water ice Mark Bolner, of Magilla Gorilla Sweet Treats, scooped into a cup.
Bolner laughed as the little boy hugged his mom and anxiously awaited the cool orange treat.
“We are here visiting because anytime we hear of a farmers market, we try to go to it,” Kate Brennan said with a laugh, adding that the family sometimes stays in Ocean City for vacation. “This is the best water ice. Everything here is so fresh. It is important to shop local, shop the local farmers and crafters.”
Vendor Trish Giova, owner of Bella U on Asbury Avenue, said the market has been great for business.
She showed some blouses to Eileen Volok, of Ocean City, who stopped by to say hello to Giova as she was perusing the market.
“What a perfect day for the Farmers Market,” Volok said. “There is so much to look at and the weather is beautiful.”
From more information about events by the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce visit www.oceancityvacation.com.