The Historic District Bethlehem Farmers Market made its debut Tuesday under cloudy, threatening skies at the Sun Inn Courtyard, but Mayor John Callahan was still pleased with the turnout.
"Urban farmers' markets have always been a goal of ours here in the city," the mayor said. "This is the third one. Giving people multiple days and multiple opportunities to buy fresh and buy local."
A dozen vendors are participating in the Historic District market, offering a range of products including fresh produce and baked goods.
Vendors include: Apple Ridge Farms (Saylorsburg, PA), Bobanona (Whitehall), Back Door Bake Shop (Bethlehem), Bechdolt's Orchards (Hellertown), Cranberry Creek Farm (Cresco), Frecon Farms (Boyertown), Hereford Country Store (Macungie), Heritage Farm CSA (Nazareth), Jumbars (Bethlehem), Stryker Farm (Saylorsburg), True Blue Farm (Lower Mt. Bethel Township), M & B Farview Farm (Hamburg), and Bethlehem Food Co-Op.
"We're eating healthy, we're bringing people downtown, we're recycling dollars here. And finally, if we can support our local farms, we can do farmland preservation and open space preservation and that's critically important for the quality of life not just in the City of Bethlehem, but throughout the Lehigh Valley," Callahan said.
Serene Green and PolyNeck performed live music as shoppers milled about.
To promote the new market, the Downtown Bethlehem Association is sponsoring an "Employee Fitness Challenge." Shoppers are encouraged to sign in at the market's information booth every time they visit to earn chances to win a $2,500 mountain bike.