Competition for vendors puts an end to Grafton farmers market

With a plethora of area markets, there’s not enough produce to go around
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

There will not be a farmers market in Grafton this summer.

Pam King, director of the Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce, said a plethora of other markets in the area made it more difficult to attract vendors for Grafton’s market.

Nearby communities such as Port Washington, West Bend and Thiensville have large farmers markets,  she said, and nonprofit organizations, churches and other groups are also starting up markets.

“Farmers only have so much produce,” she said. “They can’t be at every market.”

The Chamber, which had sponsored Grafton’s market for decades, found it more difficult to find farm vendors, King said, relying instead on crafters and other sellers.

“We’ve always been really proud of our farmers market,” she said. “It just got to a point where we weren’t filling the mission of what we set out to do. If I’m going to have a farmers market, I expect to see produce, and without the ability to guarantee that, why have it?”

King said part of the issue is also the labor shortage, noting farmers are finding it difficult to hire workers to staff their stands at markets.

So the decision was made not to hold the market for a year or so, then assess the situation and perhaps bring the market back at that point, she said.

Until then, King said, the Chamber is considering whether to host a winter market.

“Pre-Covid, we had some great success with a winter market,” she said.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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