By Mari Miller
At 7:30 am Wednesday morning, Henderson got their long awaited new Farmers Market. I arrived at 7:15 to watch the local farmers and merchants set up. Nine of the sixteen marketplace spots were filling up with merchandise from Vance, Warren, and Granville counties. The offerings ranged from home-made lye soap to fresh eggs. There were flowers and fresh bakery items that filled the large barn with the scents of summer. Prices were reasonable and selections were varied for most any buyer.
I spoke with each of the vendors. At the Simple Luxuries booth, the owner Angelique Clay told me that making home-made soap was a handed down talent from her grandmother that she had learned when she was only five. Her booth also included many crocheted items for home use. She originally is from Oxford but recently came into Vance County.
Oxford was represented by another vendor, The Angels Nest Farm and Bakery. They had a wide selection of baked goods including Danish and rolls. The side table was set with a tablecloth and chairs waiting for those attendees of the market to just sit and relax with a Danish and some fresh lemonade.
Apiary Training, Education, and Management booth had fresh eggs and pure raw honey among her many items. They are one of the Warren county farms represented this morning. Another Warren County farmer in attendance was Dillahunt Farms from Soul City. He had fresh cucumbers, squash, beets, and onions among the items for sale on his table.
Kerr Lake was represented by the Kerr Lake Master Gardeners a division of the NC Cooperative Extension office in Henderson. They had many booklets and brochures for the seasoned farmer or the backyard gardener. They were available to answer questions from any and all in attendance to the market.
Of course Vance County and Henderson had the majority of farmers serving shoppers. JASM Farms had a selection of decorative wreaths for front doors and painted gourds for bird houses. They told me that they were there to help support their daughter to go to college next year.
Franklin Brothers Nursery and Greenhouse filled their spot with fresh flower arrangements, annual and perennial plants, small trees, and indoor blooming plants. It was a beautiful display of color. Magnolia Williams of LouMag Enterprises filled her table with fresh greens, cabbages, onions, and snap beans. She was busy with many shoppers wanting her fresh greens for their lunch meals. Another of the Vance County farmers in attendance this morning was Deborah Price of the Backroad Farm and Vineyard. Deborah is also on the Advisory Board for the Farmers Market. Her table had many selections of vegetables but the item that caught my eye immediately was the Muscadine Juice in the small bottles. I inquired about the winery and she hopes to have her first bottles of wine available next season at the market. This year the grapes are just getting ready for use in the many wines she will introduce to us next year. This is something I will look forward to.
I also caught up with the new manager of the Farmers Market, Tracy Madigan. The twice a week schedule is something different than in the past. Wednesday and Saturday from 7:30am until 1:00pm gives the community the chance to shop even if they work out of town during the week. She explained to me about the history to bring the new market building to Henderson.
I inquired to her about the merchant signs that are mounted on each of the doors in the vendor’s booths. Tracy told me that the full $1,800 dollar cost of the door was paid by a local merchant or group in exchange for the sign. This went a long way to help curb many of the costs of the new building.
Parking was not an issue due to the available parking lots on both the back of the building and the side entrance. Also available was the KARTS shuttle that stops next door at LuLu’s Landing Apartment complex.
I spent about an hour in the market and came away with the impression that this could be a real plus for Henderson. About a dozen shoppers were there along with me, a small number but then it was 7:30 in the morning on a weekday. Community support will be important to the future success of the market.
As the summer goes on and more crops are available for sale, the remaining empty booths should fill up with the tastes of fresh corn, string beans, and peaches.
Here’s to a long and happy relationship with the residents of Henderson and nearby areas. Welcome to the new Vance County Regional Farmers Market!