Flagler Beach may shut out some farmers market vendors

A typical Friday at the Flagler Beach Farmers Market. The city wants to get rid of certain vendors whose products clash with brick and mortar businesses.

The Flagler Beach Farmers Market has, in one form or another, been a mainstay in that beachside town for more than three decades.

But the future for some long-time vendors may be up in the air — and they have very little control over it.

Zoee Forehand is busy this Friday morning.

She’s checking on all the vendors who have gathered in the middle of Flagler Beach, making sure this day’s farmers market is running smoothly.

She’s also handing out petitions, trying to get support for her efforts in shutting down a proposed ordinance change.

Forehand tells us “some of our vendors received notices saying they would have to cease operations if this new proposed ordinance were to pass.”

City commissioners here have been on record as being in strong support of local brick and mortar businesses. It appears that’s what this ordinance change is all about.

In a nutshell, the new ordinance would ban certain vendors the city feels is in direct competition with local, established businesses.

Maria Ferra, an Albanian immigrant, has been selling her homemade breads and pastries here for eight years. She got one of the letters.

“They said even if you paid the license, we gonna kick you out because we are…I hurt other business here,” Ferra said.

We were able to talk with Ferra in between the constant stream of customers who line up every week to buy her breads and baked items.

Ferra doesn’t mince words at the allegation that her presence here for six hours a week hurts local businesses. “I’m upset because this is [a] joke.”

Forehand said it’s important she take a stand for the handful of vendors on this list because, as she puts it, “today it’s a bakery. Tomorrow it may be other things: jewelry, lemonade. It could be olives. You just never know.”

Forehand plans to ask city commissioners to withdraw the proposed ordinance change at their meeting next Thursday.

The Flagler Beach Farmers Market was recently named one of the top 100 markets in the United States by TheDailyMeal.com


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