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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Farmers' Market

Tazewell County, Virginia is a funny place. It seems to me everyone is in competition with everyone else including each other. While competition should be a good thing, most generally around here, it's not so good. There's a fair bit of carping, hissing, complaining and downright rancor over the latest farmers' market. 

Years ago, I helped start the first Tazewell farmers market and then was told I couldn't be a part of it because I didn't sell food. My farm products are in the way of fleeces, roving, yarn, finished goods but the "powers that became" said, "no, it has to be food". Then, a few years into the market, the manager came to me and said, "we'd like you to come and demonstrate because you'd draw a crowd." I asked, "will I then be able to be a vendor?" She said, "oh no, you don't sell food." Needless to say, I declined her kind offer. 
A couple of weeks ago, the new Tazewell Farmers' Market Manager called and said the YMCA was hosting the new farmers' market and asked if I'd be a part of the new market. I said I didn't sell food and he said, "I know and look, you probably won't make a lot of money, if any money, but you'd be a draw and crowd pleaser for us and we'd sure appreciate it." WOW!  You bet I said, "yes!" All of us want to be appreciated and when someone kindly asks, especially without letting on they think we're too stupid to know smoke is being blown up our skirt, I think we should say yes, whenever possible, and help out. Not that Bill came across thataway; he was, and is, quite pleasant and serious about making the market work.
~ free cookout! ~
To open the first market day, a free cookout was provided for both vendors and visitors. Additionally, folks working out at the YMCA could grab and fill a plate while a band played and a great time was had by all despite the downpour and sudden chill in temps. The two gents above, Rob, a YMCA orange shirted employee, and John, our extension agent, work the grills.
 ~ plants, home baked goods, early root crops ~
It's early days, seasonally speaking, but some farmers have hoops and they already have beets and new potatoes while others sell baked goods and potted plants, including flowers, herbs and vegs.
 ~ Ginny ~
Successful farmers markets have a lot in common; they allow vendors to sell food, hand produced crafts, have music and crafts for the kidlets, they advertise locally and regionally, have websites and blogs. On Saturday, our farmers market had the set-up for children to make potted plants for Mother's Day and both days the market has been open, musician's have played a variety of tunes; excellent draws all!

I set up the first day, last Tuesday, and my neighbor on one side was Anderson Grass Fed Beef and granddaughter, Ginny. They have a farm in Bland County, a neighboring county, and were selling beef and other farm products. Ginny and I became BFF's and hung out most of the afternoon and when she wanted to spin she crawled onto my lap and lessons began.

~ spinning Ginny ~
And this, photo above, is why I spend money to lose money...for the love of the children. She had a great time, as did I, and we spun a lot of yarn. Ginny also made her singing debut when I held her on the musician's stool and she sang "Jesus Loves Me" for the crowd. Could we have had a better time? I think not. BTW, Nancy is standing behind us and she sold home made sorghum molasses, free range eggs and rhubarb. I was her best customer -grin-.

If you've not yet noticed, you will soon, food prices in grocery stores are UP, UP, UP! and going to continue to climb due to oil reaching $100 a barrel. It's costing the earth, literally, to transport food from Point A to Point Z and the consumer has to pay the price. If you're not shopping at your farmers' market, you should start. Prices are reasonable, you're cutting out the middle man and, if you've allergies, eating honey made locally is said to lesson allergies. If you're not sure where your markets are located, check out Local Harvest; they have a fabulous listing of nationwide markets and there's sure to be one somewhat close. We have several markets within a fifty mile radius and my favorite, after the new Tazewell market of course -smile-, is the Abingdon Farmers' Market.

Oh, and as to the recent unpleasantness alluded to earlier, the former market manager has eaten sour grapes. Apparently, she's not in favor of the new location nor new manager and has, allegedly, threatened to do all possible to ruin the new market...sigh and if she has that much power! Hey you, grow up, why doncha? In the words of Rodney King, "why can't we just all get along?"

Blessings ~ farmers ~ markets ~ food ~ crafts ~ song ~ children ~


  1. It is amazing that some people live to take pleasure away from others. I usually find these people ultimately along and unhappy. I'm glad you are able to pass on your skills. One day this chid will come back an spin. I wish I was there. I wouldn't sit on your lap but I would love to learn to spin. ;)

  2. Hello Sandra and Dave:
    We find it incredible that you should not have been allowed a place at a Farmers' Market because you are not a food producer. This, we feel, is ridiculous! Happily, this is not the case now.

    Where food is concerned, when in Hungary we buy all ours from the local market, seldom if ever going to a supermarket.

  3. Rodney King! I never thought I would live to see a R. K. quote on your blog!

    And to answer Mr. Kings question, "NO WE CAN'T"... nor should we even try to with some people.

    Proverbs 26:4 - Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

  4. i was just talking to my hubby about rhubarb and how i luv it! He doesn't, but hey, he can learn to!

    Sorry the Market has been such a challenge...we learn as we go along, huh?

    Have a sweet day and thank you for the well wishes for Mother's Day. Appreciate this. I had a very pleasant day and rejoice that it was sweet.

    God bless,

  5. I love the photo og you and Ginny :o)! It looks like you had much fun together :o)!!!

  6. I sure wish we had farmer's markets like the ones you mention. We do have one which is rather large. Since I'm usually by myself, I don't make the trip anymore, but when my mom was alive I'd take her. She always came home with so much to can or freeze.

    It seems there's a stinker in most areas of life, but we don't have to be like them. Just smile; it gets 'em every time!!

  7. I have always wondered that very thing. WHY can't we all just get along. Life would be so much easier, so much more enjoyable for every single one of us if we could only do just that.

  8. I have always wondered that very thing. WHY can't we all just get along. Life would be so much easier, so much more enjoyable for every single one of us if we could only do just that.

  9. I want to visit your farmers market! It sounds wonderful. I wish we could get our market up and running this early but they always wait till after father's day. Can't wait- I have an abudance of eggs to sell and this will be my first year with wool. Wish you were closer to give me spinning lessons! Have a great week.

  10. Sandra, that picture of you and Ginny is wonderful! You've worked very hard with this post and I really enjoyed reading it. Interesting to read how petty people can be regarding your not selling food. I would have thought that anyone willing to represent their skill would be welcome.
    Good luck. I'm sure you'll be asked again and who knows what it might lead to.

  11. *snicker*

    You go girl!!!!
    Happy to hear the sheep is OK!
    xo, misha

  12. Exactly - enough of the pie for everyone! Hooray for you , well done. For it is days like this that some young thing will remember in years to come. They may stumble into a shop, if they are still around, and say "when I was at a Farmer's Mkt. as a child there was a woman . . . ."

  13. Hey Sandy!

    Loved the post. Isn't it the pits that bureaucracy has reached our towns farmer's markets?

    I hope all town promote these markets and the "government" keeps their noses out of these affairs!

  14. Sandra, well said! Sometimes personalities conflict and I am thinking most people are doing what they THINK is best for the market and community but something happens and reason leaves the building. It then becomes about petty things. The big picture is that agricultural areas need to promote and sell within their communities for the very reasons you stated. Come together and support one another even if you can't agree. People buying food often come to buy crafts, fiber, art, and spend their money on fresh farm produce too.

    You can't know how often I have said the very same words to myself. "Why can't we just all get along?"

  15. only thing Rodney King ever said I agreed with (at least anything I know about). sad story of the gotta be something to eat rule for a while. The more local products available the more people in a purchasing mood! Does appear you made some fun!

  16. We have a market in our hometown but the market we attend, and vend at, is a county away. The local market organizers are very set in their ways and not open to new ideas. They have very few vendors. Our market is innovative and a vital part of the local economy. It's all in the mind set of the organizers.

  17. Wow! Such silliness!

    Anyway, this new market looks wonderful! One I wish I was close enough to visit!


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