September 13, 2012 | 7:42am
In the not -too-distant past, evening farmers' markets were nonexistent in Palm Beach County. That was until Farmer Jay McCobb
and Ellenville Garden Center
teamed up to invent the Moonlit Farmers' Market in Boca Raton once a week.
Now Palm Beach County hosts two others: one newly opened at Florida Atlantic University
every Thursday from 4 to 8 pm; the Sunset Green Market at Glades Plaza Wednesdays from 3 to 7 pm; and the almost finished-- on September 19--- Summer Thyme Green
Market which ran from 5 to 8 pm at Waterfront Commons in West Palm Beach.
So what is happening to the original Palm Beach County evening market?
The owners of Ellenville Garden Center, Beth and Craig Peschl, are entertaining some lease options for the property at the moment. Because of the uncertainty in terms of the property's future, Farmer Jay McCobb, the farmer behind the market, is ending the weekly event.
According to McCobb, "I wanted to do the market, because I wanted an evening market. I thought it made sense to make it into an event for networking; where you could have a glass of wine, relax, and enjoy the weather. Now there are three others in Palm Beach County. My job here is done. I've passed on the torch to those markets. I don't have a heavy heart about it. I feel like I must be doing something right if others are following suit."
McCobb, whose farm is located on a different parcel of land that he leases from Ellenville, will continue to grow food but is he is pulling away from his CSA program. The end of the market has not made the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) financially viable for McCobb or his customers. "I'm backing off on the CSA. I'm sad to let it go, but we're just not able to do it. I wanted to make sure the food was affordable and it's a bit too difficult to run it that way at the moment."
Although he is stepping away from the plate, Farmer Jay is hoping to see even more year-round markets pop up in the future. "With our climate, we really do have a year-round growing season. We need more year-round markets to reflects that. I'm really hoping the movement grows. But with all the things I have going on, I'm glad to be passing on the torch."