Community

Newest Farmers Market is at the Train Depot

Jamie “Shrimp Man” Smoak serves Larry Miksa, at the Flat Rock Farmers Market last Thursday.

HendersonvilleThe Fourth of July was celebrated Saturday morning at the Hendersonville Farmers Market, the newest weekly farmer market in town and one with live music.

The new HFM is at the Historic Hendersonville Train Depot at 650 Maple St. off Seventh Avenue, Saturdays 8 am to 1 pm.

Other markets abound. The Henderson County Tailgate Market is Saturday mornings, at 100 N. King St. Mills River’s farmers market is on Saturdays, 8 am to noon.

The Flat Rock Farmers Market is Thursdays, 3-6 pm, on the lot of Pinecrest Presbyterian Church by the dead end of Highland Lake Road and Greenville Highway.

Johnson Family Farms’ “Next Generation” (Kirby Johnson’s three daughters) produce stand and you-pick farm is at Kanuga and Erkwood. J&D Produce is at 221 Church St. Many more produce stands are in Edneyville.

Music, Depot, Market

On July Four, Fiddlin’ Ryn & Friends (ages 13 – 16) played snappy old-time mountain music live at HFM. They are area Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM). Next up at the market, on July 11, is local singer-songwriter Myron Hyman.

The weekly Harvest Bag Giveaway contest launched. The prize is a bag full of vendors’ merchandise. The info booth has the free drawing tickets. The winner has to be present, to collect the prize. Tickets not drawn are in the mix for ensuing weekly market drawings, Market Manager Meredith Friedheim noted.

The market on Saturday coincided with the first of three Open Streets this month, along Hendersonville’s mile-long Main Street. Next Open Streets are July 17-19, then July 31-Aug. 2. Bearfootin’ bear statues adorn downtown corners.

This weekly market debuted June 6 and has flourished for a month. Initial turnout was “super” and crowds in a “steady” trickle since, Freidheim said. “People seemed excited to get out,” as state quarantine rules relaxed. She estimated several hundred turn out each week. The first two hours are typically busiest, several vendors said as is common at such markets.

Downtown Hendersonville is an organizing group. Freidheim, the City of Hendersonville’s downtown events coordinator, noted Friends of Downtown Hendersonville runs HFM. A similar market at the depot was at Apple Festivals. Now, it is a weekly through Oct. 31 then with holiday markets Nov. 28 and Dec. 5.

Protective disposable face masks were given to market-goers for free on Saturday. Tokens are cashless purchasing options.

People flocked to such vendors as Honeybee Bliss, Bright Branch Farms, Fruitland Farmstead, Abigail’s Finest farm and garden. Underground Bakery is always at the north end of the market, right by Seventh Avenue. On Saturday, Sylvia’s Plants anchored the south end.

They are among nearly 30 HFM vendors. Vender products include local fresh produce and meat, baked goods,  fresh coffee, plants, cut flowers, artisan crafts and eco-friendly skincare.

Fiddlin’ Ryn & Friends played old-time music at the market by the depot Saturday. Photo by Pete Zamplas.
Fiddlin’ Ryn & Friends played old-time music at the market by the depot Saturday.

‘Community’

Saturday was warm and sunny, mirroring people’s spirits. “Sense of community” is strong, Mark Kaisoglus said. He and his wife Lauren run Fruitland Farmstead. They sold out early on broccoli and other produce, and squash later Saturday. Lauren had sewed their sanitary masks.

They like the “open street” leisurely pace for strollers, and people “connecting with each other.” Vendors bonded by meeting each other before the June 6 debut, and in buying goods from each other.

Blue eggs are a catchy novelty of Fruitland Farmstead. The chicken cam also grabs attention, showing their chickens at home. “People are excited to learn about our chickens,” Mark said. They plan to sell frozen chicken broilers starting in mid-August.

Honeybee Bliss is run by apiarists Randy and Pam Knowles. Pam was busy as a bee telling customers about health benefits of infused honey and their other honey products.

Their tent on Saturday was across from the Historic Train Depot Museum. They saw several market customers enter the museum, which has model trains running. People at the market also raved about the cobblestone path.

Bright Branch had loads of peaches and will soon have its featured crop: apples, said owners Trey and Melissa Enloe of Edneyville.

“Creating connections between our local farmers and the residents of our area is needed now more than ever,” with economic restraints amidst the pandemic, Downtown Economic Development Director Lew Holloway stated. Organizers envision a “world-class market that contributes to the success of local producers and growers, expands access to farm-fresh foods, and creates a vibrant community gathering space.”

Flat Rock Market

The Flat Rock Farmers Market is run by Paul Shoemaker. He and his wife Simone operate Holly Spring Farm in Mills River. He is a retired vegetable pathologist.

The Shoemakers should have organic heirloom tomatoes ready to sell at the market any week now, to go with squash and other veggies. Patrons such as Peter Stippich raved about these juicy, tasty tomatoes. Stained glass artist Cheryl Stippich, Peter’s wife, is among the initial organizers of Flat Rock’s market.

“Shrimp Man” Jamie Smoak also drew long lines Thursday, early and often. Green Mountain Maple’s Don Mandelkorn and Margaret Davis sell Vermont maple syrup. They do so at markets in Flat Rock, Mills River, and Asheville’s River Arts Districts Wednesdays at 3-6 pm.