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Shore Drive Farm Market every Saturday @2961 Shore Drive
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Shore Drive Farm Market every Saturday @2961 Shore Drive @ Virginia Beach | Virginia | United States

By: Kathy Hieatt

The Virginian-Pilot

May 25, 2015

VIRGINIA BEACH – There’s plenty of fresh seafood to be found along Shore Drive. Local produce is a different story.

That’s about to change thanks to a farmers market coming to the area next month.

The Shore Drive Farm Market, 2961 Shore Drive in Virginia Beach, will take up residence June 13 in the parking lot of the former Be-Lo supermarket, which closed two decades ago and has since housed Sunday church services. The market will be open Saturday mornings all year, said Donnie Edwards, one of the owners.

“You’ve got to eat during the winter, too, right?” he asked. “It’s a pretty busy area year-round, so we figured we’d kind of stick our necks out a little bit and see if we can make it work.”

Fifteen vendors have agreed to participate, offering seafood, produce, meat, eggs, cheese, baked goods, jam, honey, coffee, clothing and art. Edwards and his partners — financial advisor John Nagle and public-relations specialist Jill Doczi — also are courting several eateries, serving everything from tacos to she-crab soup.

The stands will be temporary, so Sunday churchgoers still will have plenty of parking, Edwards said. There’s room for up to 35 vendors.

“We want people to be able to come up there on Saturday and buy everything they need or want to eat for the rest of the weekend or the rest of the week,” he said. “It’s centrally located, so we’ll have a lot of people walking or riding their bikes.”

Edwards — a merchant marine, coffee roaster and oyster farmer — said it’s long been his dream to create a place where he and his neighbors could buy local products without having to drive several miles to one of the city’s existing farmers markets. Six are open seasonally but, in winter, the only option is often the Virginia Beach Farmers Market at Princess Anne and Dam Neck roads, an almost 30-minute trek.

He decided to finally act on the ambition this year, applying to the city in March for a conditional-use permit. The application goes before the Planning Commission on June 10 and after that to the City Council.

City officials have given Edwards and his partners the OK to start selling in the meantime, Edwards said.

“It’s going to be the place to be Saturday morning,” he said. “Rain, sleet, snow, unless it starts piling up too high, my people will be there.”

Kathy Hieatt, 757-222-5155, kathy.hieatt@pilotonline.com

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