Congratulations to Sloan Doucette and Julie Olsson, new market contractors.
No thanks to SABCA, disgraced former St. Augustine Beach Mayor ANDREA SAMuelS, et ux, ROBERT SAMUELS, and disgraced ex-Sheriff's employee WILLIAM JONES and a few sour grapes SABCA satraps, whose continued angry antics include a materially false and misleading statement on its website that: "As you know, the County stole sic) our market and gave (sic) it to a for profit company"
New management to take over Wednesday farmers markets at St. Augustine Beach pier
Sloan Doucette and Julie Olsson will take over as managers of the farmers market held Wednesday in the parking lot of the Pier Park in St. Augustine Beach in October. [PETER WILLOTT/THE RECORD]
By Colleen Jones
Posted Sep 11, 2018 at 2:01 AM
Updated Sep 12, 2018 at 6:24 AM
When St. Johns County put out a request for proposals to consider if different management might take over Wednesday farmers markets near the St. Augustine Beach pier, there was some uncertainty about the fate of the market.
The St. Augustine Beach Civic Association, which has run the year-round market for 20 years, was one of four applicants whose proposals were considered. Ultimately, county officials decided to award the bid to the Salt Air Farmers Market firm, which also manages the market held Sundays at Marineland.
As they get ready to officially take over on Oct. 3, the two women behind Salt Air want the local community to know the market is alive and well.
“We’re coming in with good vibes and good energy, and we’re coming in with our vision to breathe new life in this market,” Julie Olsson said in an interview Monday afternoon in the parking lot of the pier. “We’re just going to make it bigger and even better.”
Olsson and her partner, Sloan Doucette, are St. Augustine residents and longtime friends who worked together previously in the restaurant business before launching the farmers market at Marineland five years ago.
The St. Augustine Beach farmers market will continue to run Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to noon at the same location with the addition of the open-air pavilion across from the parking lot. Twenty-four more parking spaces will be opened up for patrons, with vendors parking off site instead and being shuttled to the pier.
The management firm will continue to screen and select a mix of vendors offering local produce, artisan/prepared foods, baked goods, squeezed juices, plants, handmade crafts and other items.
Olsson and Doucette said nearly all the vendors with the pier farmers market expect to continue renting space, as well as some vendors from Marineland who want a second day in the week to display their wares.
“They’re super excited to come here,” Olsson said.
Ten-foot-by-10-foot spaces in the main parking lot will be offered at $25 in-season and $22 off-season; smaller spaces in the pavilion can be rented for $18.
The women plan to launch a series of demonstrations under the pavilion as well, everything from cooking to beekeeping, gardening and health and well-being.
“We want to use it as a real community asset,” Olsson said.
Making the farmers market profitable also helps the local economy, they say.
“Every $1 spent here represents $10 put back into the community, because they [patrons] will do other shopping or dining here,” Olsson said.
Food trucks will also continue to be a staple at the pier market.
The duo plans to ramp up marketing for the weekly bazaar through social media, traditional advertising, social media and through contacts at local businesses, especially hotels.
Salt Air Farmers Market’s contract with the county runs for one year.