Health and Beauty

Dietitian Missionary

Atlantic Beach City Market an oasis in Mayport's food desert

Two rows of tents selling fresh vegetables, honey, rice, organic hot sauces, soaps and more fill the parking spaces along the road. Cars fill the two rows of parking spaces behind them as families walk over to see what all the bustle is about, often coming back to their cars with bags of produce in their hands.

While only open for three weeks-and officially open for a week-the Atlantic Beach City Market is already building a buzz. Devon Ritch, market manager of Dig Local Network, said that the nonprofit’s announcement of the soft opening of the market was shared 30 times on social media. Its two-week soft opening brought an estimate of 114 and 150 people respectively, and its grand opening on Feb. 17 brought and estimate of 318 people.

“Every shopper that we talked to-even just people driving by and stopped and pulled in to see what we were up to-said ‘Oh, this is amazing! This area needs this. We’re so glad to have you here. Really, you’re going to be here every Friday!?’ and like that kind of reaction,” said Ritch. “So, it’s really been a warm welcome.”