In a normal year, the staff and volunteers at Poplar Grove Plantation would be fully immersed in the fall season with their farmer’s market as well as planning for fall wedding events and making plans for the plantation’s beautiful Manor House to be decorated for Christmas.
But not in 2020.
Like everyone else, the plantation has been forced to shutter nearly all events this year. However, one staple – the Farmers Market – is continuing and for a very important reason.
“What comes in from our farmer’s market goes to feed our rescue animals,” says Suzette Cooper-Hawley, events director at Poplar Grove.
Poplar Grove serves as an equine rescue and devotes funding to feeding and to provide healthcare for the animals that call Poplar Grove home.
Concern for people who attend the market is of the utmost importance and Cooper-Hawley says plantation officials have taken careful measures to ensure everyone stays safe.
“We require that everyone wear a mask while at the plantation and we have added extra hand sanitizing stations throughout the market,” she says.
She added that this year the farmer’s market has been spread out across the plantation all the way to the Manor House so vendors as well as visitors are not in such close proximity to each other. In addition to local farmers selling their produce, the market also hosts crafts for sale by local artisans and culinary treats by local chefs.
“Everyone’s safety is important to us and we want to protect anyone who comes to the plantation,” she says, adding that all vendors are also required to wear masks.
Cooper-Hawley said attendance at the market, held on Wednesday and Saturday has been up this year which has been a pleasant surprise. She said the plantation’s faithful vendors have been supportive and helpful during the uncertain time of COVID-19.
“We have 48 vendors for the Wednesday market and 40 on Saturday and all have been dedicated and faithful during this time. They cooperate and want to protect our visitors as well,” she said, which is about the same number of vendors as the market saw in 2019.
And while so many of the plantation’s events and fundraisers have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, the house will be open for limited tours during the farmer’s market days.
Cooper-Hawley said, “These are temporary measures and like so many others, we hope to be back up and running soon.”
Want to go?
Visit the Poplar Grove Farmers Market, located at 10200 U.S. 17 N. in Wilmington, Wednesdays and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in October and on Wednesdays only beginning in November. For more information, visit poplargrove.org.