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Stafford farmers market sprouts

The North Stafford Farmers Market will kick off its first year in June with help from the county’s Economic Development Authority. 

The EDA approved a $10,000 grant Friday afternoon to Vanessa Griffin, a county resident who is organizing the new market.

She says everything is on track for the Sunday morning market to open June 2. Vendors will be in the parking lot of the Stafford Hospital Medical Pavilion from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“I think you have a good project,” said EDA member Jack Rowley.

Economic development director Tim Baroody added two stipulations to the grant. He asked Griffin to broaden advertisements to include the commuter lot market, and to incorporate the county’s seal and branding into the farmers market logo and brochures. County staff will work with her on that task.

A multi-vendor farmers market doesn’t currently exist in Stafford—though the county is in the process of renewing a permit from the Virginia Department of Transportation for a vendor to use the Staffordboro Boulevard commuter lot.

Stafford officials have said they cannot currently organize and fund a farmers market, but changed zoning requirements last year with the hopes it would be easier for an outside individual or organization to get one running.

Griffin wants the market to have long-term stability and plans to stretch the grant over two years, using a little more than half this season and the rest in 2014. The money will go toward registering as a limited liability corporation, liability insurance, portable toilet rentals, and promotional materials like banners, fliers, radio advertisements, bookmarks, magnets and eco-totes.

She is working on partnerships with the hospital and local libraries.

She’s wrapping up the vendor selection process and will soon announce who will be selling at the market. Goods could include produce, bread, gelato, meat, plants, dog treats, soap and more.

“Your contribution will not only effect the economic development of Stafford County, but also assist in bringing the community together,” Griffin wrote in her application.

Other local markets open for the season within the next few weeks.

On April 20, markets will open in downtown Fredericksburg at Hurkamp Park and the Gordon Road commuter lot off State Route 3 in Spotsylvania County. City market hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Spotsylvania hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Wednesday market at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center begins its second year on May 1, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The weekly market is held in the parking lot at 4604 Spotsylvania Parkway.

The King George Farmers Market opens April 27 at King George Elementary School. It’s weekly from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975