28 July 2015
The Fluvanna County Farmers Market, which in its prime boasted 60 vendors each week, has dwindled down to six or so, and by the end of July may become even smaller.
What happened to the bustling market packed with local foods, crafts, and goodies? Why have only 10 percent of its vendors stuck with it?
Brenda Moore, Farmers Market manager and craft vendor, blames liability insurance as the primary reason among several factors that the market - held from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays from April through October at the county’s Pleasant Grove Park - has all but disappeared.
“To set up on county property the Farmers Market has to have insurance, which is definitely understandable in case someone gets hurt at the market,” Moore said. “But the only insurance that the Farmers Market is able to get is one that requires each vendor to have their own individual liability insurance.”
When the liability insurance requirement went into effect, Moore said, the market lost roughly two-thirds of its vendors. “I was able to get liability insurance at $300-something for one year,” she said. “But being a small vendor that takes out all of my profit.”
In fact, when the insurance policy Moore is using expires at the end of July, she’s not sure she’s going to be able to afford to continue selling her crafts.
In addition to their individual liability policies, which Moore said can range from a couple hundred dollars to as much as $600, each vendor pays $100 yearly to the Farmers Market Association. “It’s the least expensive farmers market around that I know of,” Moore said. Out of that pool of money comes the $100 rental fee the market pays to the county for use of Pleasant Grove, then about $280 for the overall Farmers Market insurance policy. Leftover money, if it exists, goes toward expenses like advertising.