Saturday Market starts afresh

Published 1:34 am Sunday, April 17, 2011

Red, giant, plump and juicy were a few of the words used to describe Southside Farms’ strawberries sold at Saturday Market. (WDN Photo/Mike Voss)

The wind wasn’t the only thing brisk Saturday morning on Washington’s waterfront. Business at Saturday Market, the first of the 2011 season, was brisk within minutes of its 8 a.m. opening.

Although the local produce season is not yet in full flower, most Saturday Market vendors had little trouble selling what they had to offer.

“It’s springtime, even though it may not quite feel like it this morning, but it is always exciting to be back.” said Shawn Harding with Southside Farms, where strawberries were picked and packaged for Saturday Market. “We’ve got strawberries started early this year. Of course, tomatoes and other things will be coming in a little bit later. We’re looking forward to all the good produce – onions, turnips right now. Then, later, cabbage – just all the vegetables.”

Southside Farms is a veteran of Saturday Market and its precursors.

“We’ve been here since it started,” he said. “I remember coming  to the first market. … It was snowing one day. We were out here  in the snow.

Another veteran Saturday Market vendor was back in place Saturday.

“I am excited about it. Last season was a lot of fun,” said Rachel Midgette with Rachel K’s Bakery, adding that last season she enjoyed her regular customers coming by and the chance to meet newcomers to Saturday Market.

“I’m going to have a couple of different pastries that I didn’t have last year,” Midgette said. “Last year, I tried out a toaster Pop Tart kind of thing with fresh, local fruit in it, and I think that’s going to be a big hit. I’m going to have that more often.”

Midgette won’t be at the next Saturday Market, but she returns for the remaining Saturday Markets this season, which ends Oct. 15.

Taffy Marron with N.C. Pasta Co., distributor of Pappardelle’s Pasta Co.’s dried pasta products, returned for a second season at Saturday Market.

“We were here last year. It’s the best farmers’ market in the state,” Marron said. “It’s fun. It’s a gorgeous setting and the people here are absolutely super.”

Pappardelle’s pasta items are only sold at farmers’ markets, she said.

While most of the items sold at Saturday Market are edible or plantable, some items aren’t. That’s how it is with Sandra Cherry Jones’ items. Jones is an artist who paints on bricks, wood and canvas. From cardinals to magnolias to North Carolina lighthouse, Jones captures eastern North Carolina images on brick and the other media.

“It’s nice to see the red in the strawberries and the green in the greens,” said Charlene Hunter of Greenville. “I came across this place last year when I came to Washington one Saturday morning. … I liked what I saw and thought there were good prices on the produce being sold. … I left with several bags of fruits, vegetables and some jellies.”

Saturday Market begins at 8 a.m. and ends at noon each Saturday through Oct. 15. Some vendors who sell all their goods on any given Saturday may leave before noon.

Saturday Market occurs adjacent to the dock master’s office on the west end of Stewart Parkway on Washington’s waterfront. For more information about Saturday Market, call the Washington Harbor District Alliance at 252-946-3969.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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