A couple produce vendors have begun selling their vegetables and other crops at York’s downtown farmer’s market after another local market for produce vendors shut down.
“I thought I’d come by here and help it get started again,” said York resident Eddie Robinson, who was selling cucumbers, tomatoes, squash and other items Saturday from the back of his red pickup truck at the Congress Street lot.
Jimmy Jones, another York resident, had blueberries for sale. He sold seven quarts the previous week. “We’ve had so many blueberries this year, and our freezer is still full from last year,” he said.
Earlier this spring, produce vendors were selling their goods at a new open-air market at the York office of Tractor Supply, 802 E. Liberty St. But that market has closed.
During the June 5 York City Council meeting, a discussion arose over legal issues surrounding the Tractor Supply market, including the need for liability insurance to cover the market.
Mayor Eddie Lee said there were two issues with that market. He said some of the vendors at the market were cooking pork skins. He said the city’s fire inspector told the vendors they had to stop cooking because of the risk that the cooking device could be knocked over and someone could be hurt.
“They were given three weeks to stop cooking and they did not stop,” Lee said.
The liability insurance was a separate issue, Lee said. He said the property owners were asked to sign a form stating that the business would accept liability for crowds being on the property for the market.
They didn’t want to sign the form, which releases the city from liability for the market, he said.
A Tractor Supply employee in York referred questions about the market to the company’s corporate office. A spokeswoman at the corporate office said she could not comment on the matter.
City Manager Charles Helms said the Congress Street lot in downtown York, which is owned by the city, has always been available for produce vendors, but only in the last two weeks have a couple vendors begun using it.
Helms said he recently had calls from three more people who asked about using the Congress Street lot to sell their produce.
“I told them it’s open, and please go use it,” Helms said. “They’re more than welcome to set up on Main Street. We’re doing what we always do, making sure it’s clean, making sure it’s open.”
Lee said the city has adequate liability insurance for the Congress Street location. Helms said there are no set hours for the Congress Street market location, but that vendors may use it as needed.
Robinson said he was able to sell most of his produce in a few hours at the downtown market. “After a while, people started coming and I sold everything but a few green beans,” he said.