A chef and a farmer walked into a storefront.
The outcome of that happy encounter, CraftGrown Market, opened its doors earlier this month at 603 Castle St. in Wilmington.
“There was nowhere within walking distance of here to buy food. We have a small footprint of space but you can leave with just today’s or three-to-five days’ worth of groceries,” said David Scott, a restaurant consultant and the chef involved in the venture.
Scott and the market’s farmer, Randy Rhyne, met about six months ago. Rhyne, who cultivates lettuce, leafy greens and microgreens, was using the back of the storefront for his business, CraftGrown Farms. Scott had a vision of a complementary retail business that would take advantage of the store’s plate-glass exposure to Castle Street.
“The market idea grew out of: How do we use this as a retail store, and how do we educate people how to use microgreens?” Scott said. “It wasn’t working online, so we started classes. The motivation for the market was to educate people, but it grew into a foodie-centric market. It’s a little on the high-end but it’s approachable, and you have a chef personally curating what you buy.”
Scott’s approach to stocking the neighborhood market is to feature foods that people don’t use at home on a daily basis. There are lamb chops, duck and ground bison, for instance. In addition to Rhyne’s greens, produce and products from about a dozen local vendors have found a home in the store, and Scott is looking for more. He also has ready-made dishes from several area sources, such as Salty Sistas Restaurant and Bakery in Sneads Ferry.
“She knocks it out of the park,” Scott said of the owner. “This is premium quality stuff.”
CraftGrown Market’s inventory also includes select international foods, especially favorites from France, England and Italy.
“We use a European vendor who delivers to Wilmington,” Scott said. “We also share a wall with Wilmington Wines. You can assemble your own charcuterie board here with local and French items and take it next door. I think this is a blessing for the neighborhood.”
CraftGrown Market is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.