So you want to start a new farmers market in your area, and you are working without the assistance or active involvement of a municipality. Where do you begin? We will address some of the considerations and steps in starting up a privately run, for-profit market that can sustain itself.
Presented By: Michele Ascher & Amy Jordan, Hampton Blvd Farmers Market
Michele Ascher, Co-Founder and Market Manager at We Dig Tidewater LLC, which operates both Hampton Blvd Farmers Market and Harvest Market @ O’Connor Brewing Co. in Norfolk, VA.
Michele gained an appreciation for agriculture, home gardening, canning and baking while spending a summer on her grandparents’ family farm in Indiana. After earning three degrees and a career as a chef, Michele focused on raising her two children, who are now teenagers. In 2016, Michele started working for her sister Amy’s all natural dog treat business, both as a baker and in sales at farmers’ markets. After two years enjoying markets from the vendor perspective, in 2018, she and her sister started Hampton Blvd Farmers Market, a privately run, for-profit market, from scratch. Michele and Amy also completed the 2018 VAFMA Market Manager Certification together. This past year, they were approached by O’Connor Brewing Co. in Norfolk to start up a second market at their brewery. Michele handles participation in the Farmers Market Metrics Program, among other duties. She most enjoys the vendor relations aspect of the business. When she is not working, you will find Michele with her family, watching college football or cheering on the Cubs, cooking, working in her extensive heirloom vegetable garden or training her two German Shepherd puppies.
Amy Jordan, Co-Founder and Market Manager at We Dig Tidewater LLC, which operates both Hampton Blvd Farmers Market and Harvest Market @ O’Connor Brewing Co. in Norfolk, VA.
After earning a degree in business at James Madison University, Amy has spent most of her adult life following entrepreneurial pursuits in hospitality, food and marketing. For thirteen years she co-owned and operated a luxury inn in Vermont, which she and her business partner had purpose-built, and where she was also the resident baker and served as marketing committee chairperson for the chamber of commerce. After a move back to Virginia, she spent eight years as the Director of Marketing, Public Relations and Events for TASTE, a family-owned regional chain of restaurants/gourmet food stores. In early 2016, she started BowWowMeow Baking Co., making all natural pet treats, sold both wholesale and at farmers’ markets. After a couple of seasons as a vendor at multiple markets, in 2018 she and her sister Michele started Hampton Blvd Farmers Market, a privately run, for-profit market, from scratch. For the last two years, Amy has worn the hats of both vendor and market manager. Amy and Michele also completed the 2018 VAFMA Market Manager Certification together. This past year, they were approached by O’Connor Brewing Co. in Norfolk to start up a second market at their brewery. Amy really enjoys the marketing and social media aspects of the business and loves helping new farmers and producers bring their product to market successfully. She enjoys dining out, trivia and game nights with friends, cooking, volunteering for an animal rescue and being able to work from home, where she is surrounded by her furry, four-legged family.