Plans for Market’s growth

| 20/08/2009

(CNS): Launched two years ago to provide an outlet for everything Caymanian, Market at The Grounds was celebrating its anniversary on 8 August and although only 15-20 core vendors are regularly selling at the market at the moment the minister responsible says there are big plans ahead., Juliana O’Connor-Connolly Minister of District Administration who is responsible for agriculture said the market was poised to expand links between tourism and agriculture.

Held each Saturday morning between 7:00 and 12:00 noon at The Grounds in Lower Valley the venue recently opened a Kid’s Zone on part of the plan to transform the grounds into a multi-purpose facility.

“The venue will offer the best that we produce, plus great family entertainment and education on our heritage and culture,” said Oconnor-Connolly adding that with the planned purpose-built market for vendors, the agro-processing facility, and an entertainment site, The Grounds would become the centrepiece of the effort to expand links between tourism and agriculture.

Department of Agriculture Acting Assistant Director Brian Crichlow said the market was fast becoming entrenched in the social fabric of the community.

 “It is now a regular part of Saturday morning shopping for many locals. And it doesn’t end there for we alsoget visitors from hotels and condos who come out to buy produce and craft items, as well as sample local foods,” Crichlow said.

He described the market has having served as a business incubator for new companies wanting to market-test new products.

“The ability to sustain trade over the past two years is a testament to the commitment of vendors, patrons, the market committee, and in fact all who have embraced this uniquely Caymanian experience,” he said. “There is a core group of 15 to 20 vendors who continue to demonstrate their loyalty simply by coming out with their goods week after week, even when business is not as brisk as it might be.”

Reminding shoppers that market items are available for a full five hours each week he dispelled the myth that there is nothing to buy after 9:00 a.m. “We have asked farmers to provide a steady supply of produce until midday and they have responded favourably,” he said. 

Annie Litchmore who sells locally-crafted kitchen and clothing accessories said that the market has been a great experience. “I not only sell my products, I also meet new people from all over the world,” she said  “I have seen the market get bigger and better, especially with the inclusion of special promotional activities tied to Easter and Christmas. Market at The Grounds remains the only place in Cayman that people can come and buy fresh fruits and vegetables, locally-processed foods such as jams and jellies, and local arts and crafts.

Andy Ebanks who sells handbags and other women’s accessories made from recycled material said the market offered an opportunity for creativity.  “We need to please the tourists and that means we have to make interesting local products from whatever we can find,” she noted.

Farmer and Hamlin Farms owner Hamlin Stephenson said he had seen tremendous improvement. “I am also hoping that the Kid’s Zone will bring out more parents with their children,” he added.

                 

 

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  1. Lorrie says:

    "…..links between tourism and agriculture"….. Next news they’ll be ferrying cruiseship passengers up to Lower Valley on Saturday morning. 

    I find it hard enough to face the supermarkets on Saturday mornings because of the crowds.  Leave the local market to the locals who appreciate it and can afford it – not the sightseers! 

    I like to support the local farmers. I buy the plants, herbs, local produce and the gormet foods, like sausages and pepper jelly.

    If we import tourists to the farmer’s market – the prices will become out of sight and it will no longer be local, like everything thing else that was once Caymanian.

    The standard of living in Cayman has dropped in the past decade because of the increase in tourists.  Life in Cayman is centred around the tourism trade and not around the locals, or what’s left of the locals. 

    I live in Cayman and I am a Caymanian. I want to go to a local shop and be greeted by a local, talk about his or her family, business and exchange the local hospitality.  Everytime I go into a local vendor that is frequented by tourists, or is so large that the vendor could not possibly employ enough local staff, and where I have to beg for attention and service from someone who is only interested in putting in the hours to make the money to send back home, I get disgusted and I prefer to Miami or Tampa to purchase what I need. Cayman vendors have lost plenty of my business.

    We need to invest in the locals who work hard and also to the people who have been coming to Cayman for twenty years, or people who have been here for thirty plus years like myself.  We need not invest in the cruiseships or the one off tourists for the lazy people who shuffle around the tourists and will not bother to further themselves and only drive tourists around to make a living. 

    To thine own self be true….  In other words Be Caymanian and stay Caymanian!

    To all the local farmers and local vendors of the Farmers Market -Good job!  I’m proud of you and I’ll support you.