Hyattsville Farmers Market bids farewell — for now
By LINDSAY MYERS — After 27 seasons, the oldest farmers market in Prince George’s County is taking a summer vacation. The Hyattsville Farmers Market, after several seasons of lackluster sales and low foot traffic, has been suspended for the 2019 season after too few vendors were willing to commit to the market.
Ellarose Preston, the market manager and the Wellness Programs Coordinator for the city of Hyattsville, said the location change to Summer Jam that she instituted last season ultimately hurt her ability to court vendors.
The feedback was all the same: Friday nights are a bad time for farmers markets, especially small ones. Vendors are too busy preparing for larger weekend markets that see hundreds of visitors in just a few hours. Furthermore, Summer Jam only happens once a month.
“Unfortunately, that’s just not how farmers work,” said Preston.
When weekly profits are unreliable and inconsistent — margins are often dependent on good weather and the vacation plans of customers — vendors rely on weekly markets to build a reliable customer base and ensure that low-profit weeks are mitigated by high ones. The once monthly, two hour window at Summer Jam just wasn’t worth the time and labor commitment for the market’s usual vendors.
Though Preston said she is disappointed about the 2019 season, she’s optimistic about the future when the market moves to Hyatt Park and resumes its weekly set-up.
Renovations at Hyatt Park are on schedule to finish by spring of 2020. Preston thinks the Hyatt Park’s playground, visible location from Hamilton street, and accessibility to local neighborhoods will solve a lot of the problems that have plagued the market over the past several years.
“We were really trying to keep the market going this year, but we are excited and hopeful for next year at Hyatt Park. Then we should be back and better than ever,” she said.
Summer Jam kicks off the 2019 season on Friday, May 17, at 6:30 p.m. at the City Building.