June 19, 2004
Greater Milwaukee Today
Mary LaCharite calls herself a "glass-is-half-full kind of person."
Anyone who visited the Fox Point Farmers Market last summer would likely agree.
LaCharite single-handedly brought it to fruition, said Prescott Wurlitzer, who serves on the marketís nonprofit board. And thatís no easy task, he said, considering the levels of approval - six or seven, he guessed - needed.
Itís a task made less easy still if you have multiple sclerosis, as does LaCharite. "She pushed it through," said Wurlitzer, who like LaCharite lives in Fox Point. "She has that spirit. She just perseveres."
LaCharite, though, said having MS "didnít slow me down a bit. I donít consider that an obstacle," she said. "You do what you can do."
LaCharite, through phone calls and Internet research, attracted a dozen vendors, hundreds of customers and musical entertainment to the market, held 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays at Stormonth School, 7301 N. Longacre Road.
"We opened last year on July 5," she said. "We went 13 weeks. This year, weíre going to open June 19 and close Oct. 16. Itís a full five weeks longer."
LaCharite said thatís based on demand. "Both customers and vendors said theyíd like us to open longer."
But the idea behind the market, she said, was based on need. "Basically, it got started because there really is no farmers market in the Northshore," she said. "I started last February and called vendors and went on the Internet."
She also received advice - including help with vendor contracts - from the South Shore and Thiensville markets, and the Fox Point Farmers Market is modeled after a combination of the two, she said.
In addition to fresh, organically grown produce, LaCharite brought in a coffee and a honey vendor.
"I think almost all of them want to come back," said Wurlitzer.
But expect a few changes - all positive - this summer, said LaCharite, who said sheís working with M&I Bank to sponsor additional musical acts, including Trillium, a group of four women who have agreed to perform the second Saturday of each month.
"We got off to a wonderful start," said Wurlitzer. "Itís a big plus for the Northshore area."
LaCharite, who noted that the market is a social venue too, is also
pleased with last yearís response. "The last day, one of the customers
who was a regular said, ĎIím really going to miss the market," she said.
"Itís really a neat thing for the community. I think I really hit on something
Copyright © 2004, Freeman Newspapers