Grove Street Farmers Market makes its debut

Chef Rick Welch is stoked about the new Grove Street Farmers Market which opened March 2 near the corner of NW Fourth Street and Tenth Avenue in Gainesville.

Welch, a cook at the restaurant Afternoon, lives five blocks away from the event and says he’ll be back every week.

“I usually buy my stuff on Wednesdays which gets me through the weekend,” Welch said about the veggies he buys for his recipes. “By Monday I’m out of stock, so this will be great to get me through the week. I’m really stoked.”

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With 10 vendors set up and participation from neighboring Earth Pets of Gainesville, The Downtown Tabby MCM shop and Cypress & Grove Brewing Co., Market Manager Monica Albert, 53, declares, “It’s a beautiful neighborhood and it’s only getting better.”

Albert is the owner of Mo’s Garage Salon Experience, which is located directly across the street from the main section of the market.

She said she recruited vendors from the Wednesday farmers market in Gainesville and her goal for the weeks to come is to at least double the amount. Vendors pay $20 a week every Monday or a month in advance is $60 for four Mondays.

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“It’s completely community driven,” Albert said. “I’m interested in livening the Grove Street neighborhood.”

Albert managed an art studio in the neighborhood 25 years ago, and recently purchased a home nearby so she is invested in the area.

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“I stare at this great wall and I started thinking about a mural and then a farmers market,” she said about how the idea developed.

“We have all of these small businesses cropping up over the last two years,” she added and said the ultimate goal of livening the neighborhood is to “bring more businesses and residents. I see this as an extension of downtown.”

The event runs from 4 to 7 p.m. every Monday. 

By 5 p.m. on opening day dozens of people were combing the market for goods and talking to vendors about the offerings.

The event runs from 4 to 7 p.m. every Monday. 

By 5 p.m. on opening day dozens of people were combing the market for goods and talking to vendors about the offerings.

There was a range from succulents grown by Dee Mullen of Willow Gardens in High Springs, jams and jam infused baked goods served by The Kilted Chef from Scotland, Shishito peppers and other vegetables grown by John Bitter of Frog Song Organics and free beer tastings and dog biscuits.

Surrounding businesses took part in the event by offering samples and changing business hours to match the market times. 

Cypress & Grove Brewing Co. set up a sample table and changed its Monday operating hours from 5 p.m. to an earlier opening at 3:30 p.m.

Albert’s plan for the March 9 market is, “To have this wrap around to Tenth Avenue,” she said.

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 Photos by Suzette Cook

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