Welcome to the Eastern Shore Farmers' Market
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Virginia Farm Market Board established the Eastern Shore Farmersí Market with the concept of functioning as a regional wholesale and distributing facility for agricultural products, especially those produced by small to medium sized farms. The Eastern Shore Farmersí Market has been extremely successful in this mission, having handled almost $25 million worth of produce in the 5 years of operation. After receiving a State guaranteed loan for itís start-up, the Market is now totally self-supporting and debt free.
Located on the beautiful Delmarva Peninsula, Virginias' Eastern Shore consists of Accomac and Northampton Counties, two of the top vegetable producing counties in the state. The current facility location in Melfa is a centrally located area with excellent access from the major highway and adjacent to Accomack County Airport, allowing easy access to land or air shipment. The facility already has several support services, including a commercial truck scale and administrative building.
Expansion of the present produce section is the highest priority. A careful assessment of current design and future needs was accomplished with the cooperation of the Eastern Shore Marketing Cooperative, Inc., current tenants of the Eastern Shore Farmersí Market, and a survey of smaller, local growers. The configuration of an additional building of 40,000 square feet, with increased square footage of dry and cold storage space, along with specific features of the current market building will meet the expanding produce needs of the Shore. There are already commitments for leased space within this new proposed building.
The second part of this project is the Seafood Warehouse. Eastern Shore Marketing Cooperative, Resource Conservation and Development, and the Working Watermenís Association merged as a Task Force and developed an understanding of the needs of the Eastern Shore Watermen. Currently, the sea and bay waters of the Eastern Shore support approximately 2200 employees wholesale and retail. Over 63 species are harvested from our waters, with an estimated wholesale value of approximately $9.5 million. To increase the value and marketing of this bounty, a facility with a blast freezer, two freezer units, and cold and dry storage units was determined as meeting not only the current needs, but also the needs well into the 21st century. The facility will be operated the same way the current, highly successful Farmersí Market produce facility is managed, and will allow the small and medium aquaculture harvester to utilize the facilities, thereby fulfilling one of the original mandates of the farmerís market network.