BY DEBBIE PAGE
The Troutman Farmer’s Market opened on Tuesday afternoon, beginning its 10th year of providing farm fresh vegetables and plants, arts and crafts, baked goods, and other hand-crafted food items at ESC Park location.
The 2021 opening was originally scheduled for last week but was cancelled due to inclement weather.
Parks and Recreation Director Emily Watson said that 14 vendors are currently signed up, with more expected to join the market as more local crops are harvested.
“I am proud that we kept the market going last year even with COVID,” she said. “Some of our vendors have been with all ten years, so they have a real pride and ownership in the market.”
John Furr was on hand with his local honey, along with David’s Market featuring local strawberries. Glenise Ward displayed lovely, handmade cards and journals, while Ty’s Bling, Bling featured unique jewelry, and Jim Caster offered his crafted wooden bowls and other items.
Sweet and Salty offered tasty baked goods, and C&C Farms featured plump, red tomatoes and plants grown locally in its greenhouses. Betty Lou Herter offered up products from Cleo’s Alpacas, including knitted items and handmade soaps.
A few other vendors, including Carson’s Tasty Pickles, Apple Hill Acres, and Sara Sawa’s offerings, were absent on Tuesday but will be participating in future markets.
Paxton Hick’s is serving as market director for the first few weeks, with Zack Little leading the effort for the rest of the season.
Watson said she and Little will be visiting the vendors gardens and workspaces to ensure the products being brought to the market are healthy and handmade.
She emphasized that this is not a flea market and that the town takes great pride in limiting items for sale to those that help support and sustain the local farm and artisan community. Each vendor must be the original producer of all items being sold, with no reselling of produce or other products allowed.
The market has strict rules for the products offered to ensure public safety and customer satisfaction.
Additionally, vendors selling produce must submit a grower’s certificate from their extension office to the market manager if one is not already on file.
Vendors selling baked goods must submit a kitchen certification form; and meat and poultry vendors must submit a handler’s license. All refrigerated products must be stored at the proper temperature at the market, and all vendors must have their operation documented.
Any vegetables grown by the seller from seeds, sets, seedlings, or transplants must be grown on vendor’s farm. Any fruits, nuts or berries must be grown by the seller from trees, bushes or vines on the seller’s farm.
Eggs must also be produced by the seller’s poultry, in a cooler, and sold in cartons labeled with seller’s name and address, the date eggs were collected, and a “best by” date of four weeks later.
Honey, produced by the seller’s bees, must be in jars labeled with beekeeper’s name, address, phone number, and the variety of honey. Preserves, jams or jellies must also be made by the seller.
Fresh-baked goods made by the seller must be wrapped and labeled with the name, address, and phone number of the baker, and all ingredients must be listed on the label.
Fresh cut or dried flowers grown by the seller or crafts created by the vendor are also allowed at the market.
The market continues every Tuesday afternoon from 4 to 7 p.m. through September 28.