From the field to the table
Opening day sparked hope for growth at the Vance County Regional Farmers Market.
About 200 people paced the market floors Wednesday exploring the nine vendor tables that stretched its length.
They left with courtesy bags of natural soaps, fresh produce and home-baked goods.
Shoppers Lennie and Carolyn Swanson, who stopped by to pick up flowers and soaps, said they were satisfied with their first experience.
“We’re excited to have it in Henderson,” Carolyn Swanson said. “The vegetables were fresh, and the people were so friendly. We’ll be glad to see it growing and getting bigger.”
County commissioner Archie Taylor said he spent too much money stopping in for flowers and baked goods.
“This is a great beginning,” he said.
Backroad Farm and Vineyard’s Deborah Price said business was good for the first day. Most of her food items were gone by noon.
“It’s been a really good day for sales,” Price said. “We’ve been blessed.”
Price said she was confident the market would grow because it had a new secret weapon, the Angels Nest Bakery of Oxford.
The owner, Doreathy Booth, said she bakes her signature cronuts, empanadas and gourmet crackers from scratch. She had been up since midnight making her goodies for the opening day.
“I have to get up that late,” she said. “How else are they going to be fresh.”
Booth and her son, John Stamets, are frequent visitors to the farmers market in Durham but have committed to Wednesdays in Henderson.
She said she was sure the farmers market would be something great.
“I give it three years,” she said. “It’s going to take a lot of advertising and consistency, though.”
Some vendors said they are depending on the market expanding.
JASM Produce owner Gene Matthews said he hoped selling his peas would provide extra cash to send his niece, Ashyln, to college.
“This is a new market, and I would really like to see it blossom,” Matthews said. “The people of Henderson don’t understand the economical impact of this facility. These peas were picked yesterday. This food is fresh.”
Market manager Tracy Madigan said these events still have a long way to go.
“I am pleased with the turnout for the first day,” she said. “Now, am I satisfied? No. I want to see thousands of people come through here each week.”
Kermit Thompson, a retired farmer who sold at earlier farmers markets in Henderson, came to support some vendors he worked with before. He said the facility was a great improvement from the old tents he used to use.
“I see a couple new ones here, but the old ones look pleased,” he said.
Other vendors were Dillahunt Farms, Kerr Lake Extension Master Gardeners, Holland Farm, Magnolia Williams, Franklin Brother’s Nursery and Greenhouses and Angelique Clay.
The market previously was run on Wednesdays at the Henderson Family YMCA parking lot and on Saturdays at the City Operations Center parking lot.
The market will be open every Wednesday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Madigan said vendor applications are still available. More information is available by contacting the cooperative extension office at (252) 438-8188.
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