Cotswold is (finally) getting a farmers market

Cotswold is (finally) getting a farmers market
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Charlotte’s Providence Rotary Club is opening the Cotswold Farmers Market on May 7. It will be at 309 S. Sharon Amity Road — across from IHOP near the medical offices.

Dates: May 7 through October 29

Hours: 8 a.m. to noon

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The Rotary Club began exploring the idea last year and is finalizing vendors and sponsorships.

Ten farmers/vendors are already finalized, with another six to seven in the works, said Mike Walker, the club’s president, who will also lead the farmers market. Levine Children’s Hospital is the lead sponsor.

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Cotswold was a natural choice for the location.

The largest Charlotte farmers markets — think Charlotte Regional Farmers Market, Davidson Farmers Market,  King’s Drive Farmers Market and Matthews Community Farmers’ Market — aren’t very convenient to Cotswold.

I lived about a mile from the market’s location for several years, and this was honestly a big wish of mine since it makes shopping for local produce and meat less of an ordeal for residents.

“There are a lot of small markets in Charlotte,” Walker said. “There is nothing in the Cotswold area of any consequence.”

[Agenda Story: Know your farmer: A tour of the top 7 farmers markets in the Charlotte area]

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Zoning changes meant the club had to rethink where it would operate.

Organizers originally planned to partner with Trinity Presbyterian Church on Providence Road and sell from its parking lot. But a recent city zoning change governing farmers markets meant locating at Trinity Presbyterian was more restrictive because it’s in a residential zone.

Relocating near the medical offices lets Cotswold Farmers Market grow to up to 22 vendors — compared to fewer than 10 at the church site.

“We’ll be comparable to those (larger) markets,” Walker said. “We just won’t get bigger than that.”

Giving back to the community is important to the Rotary Club.

Market organizers are meeting with every vendor and farmer before they receive approval.

Any profits will go back to the club’s charitable mission and efforts such as student scholarships or donations to community nonprofits. Walker isn’t being paid for his work.

“We’re not in this for the money,” he said.

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