By Mickey Howley
Our Farmers Market is in full swing now, produce is in, and the market has been open on Wednesdays from 4 to 6 in the afternoon for the last 3 weeks.
Of course it is still open on Saturday morning from 8 to 11 and running the market are Alexe van Beuren and Becky Tatum. On Saturday there is coffee with real cream available to drink while you check out what is fresh.
While the Wednesday market is an effort to get the freshest produce out, the Saturday market now also features a number of local crafters and artists. Pati D’Amico has hand painted trays and platters which are practical to use and wonderful to hang on the wall.
Dave and Libby Kutcha have been growing gourds and turning them into bird houses with a pretty fancy paint job. Those gourds look great and they’re priced right.
Bill Forsyth is making some affordable Adirondack rocking chairs. After a porch swing or glider (if you don’t like chains), they are the greatest porch accessory. While the Adirondack design is not native to the South, if you have never parked yourself in one of these chairs in the shade somewhere, you are missing an experience. My trouble with them is I always nap off they are so comfortable. The rocking version is the southern modification to this classic design. Take a load off your feet and try one out.
Still the main focus for both days is the produce; there have been as many as 15 farmers and vendors selling produce and products recently. We have a couple of regulars. Brad always seems to have some jams and jellies and his blackberry jam spread on a piece of hot toast is a little bit of paradise. Wilbur Herring has always something fresh from the garden and sometimes he has some homemade fudge (his daughter Kim might have a hand in that). And Wilbur always has a very observant comment ready to give out and that costs you nothing.
Gladne Harris is the garlic queen, and I have learned that there is a huge variety in garlic taste and size. Garlic is good for you and I think it is an essential ingredient for lots of dishes. Some don’t like the after aroma, but in the words of New Orleans chef Joe Cahn, “If ya lover don’t like garlic, find ya self a new lover”. I have heard if you eat enough garlic it will keep the mosquitoes away, I’ve tried but never made it to that level of saturation.
So why is Main Street hosting this Farmers Market? First off it is just plain fun, okay it is hard work, too, but fun at the same time. Second, it highlights local produce and products, all the stuff is locally made or raised or grown. We’re big believers in buying local. Third, the market makes connections. Restaurants and produce suppliers are now buying from some of the vendors.
Those business connections made at the market have developed into more business than what you see on Saturday or Wednesday. That is the kind of economic impact Main Street is really interested in, hosting the market not only for direct selling, but as a catalyst for other economic developments. Anytime we can bring people downtown for some fun and economic activity, we think it is a good combination and idea. The market gets people out to our Main St. on Saturday morning to shop. Those shoppers are not spending their morning driving up Highway 7 out of town. They and their money stay right here.
Last week’s survey had ice cream at Turnage’s as the favorite summertime activity. Is that any surprise?
Visit www.watervalleymainstreet.com for this week’s survey on your favorite delicious Yalobusha product.