Halifax Farmer’s Market

Customers line up to get fresh produce at the Halifax Farmer’s Market in 2019. On Saturday, the market will hosts is season grand opening in a socially distant and masked virus era.

Farm-fresh food and friendly folks await customers at the Halifax Farmer’s Market’s season opening from 8 a.m. until noon Saturday.

“The people are friendly. It’s a hometown feel,” said Faye Michaud of the Humane Society of Halifax County.

Customers can enjoy conversations with local farmers while browsing the wide variety of offerings available, from fresh vegetables, meats, free-range eggs and herbs to baked goods, jams and jellies, and arts and crafts. After loading up on homemade goodies, customers also will have the opportunity to adopt a pet from the Humane Society.

“We’ll have a couple of dogs, cats and kittens up for adoption,” Michaud said. “We’ll also have some of our T-shirts for sale. We’re trying to raise some money. It’s been a bad time of year with this virus (COVID-19). We also need kitten food and puppy food donations and pine shavings for the kennels.”

One of the vendors at the market’s season opening, Avery Boyd of Boyd Farms in Nathalie, will offer his customers a wide variety of produce, including beets, corn, eggplants, green peppers, new potatoes, string beans, squash, and seven different types of tomatoes, including Heirloom. Boyd said he enjoys selling his farm’s produce at the market every Saturday.

“It’s great to see the people coming in and buying fresh produce,” Boyd said. “It’s an awesome place to come and get new ideas and recipes.”

Denise Barksdale, market manager and assistant Halifax town manager, has lined up 35 vendors for Saturday’s season opening. The vendors will be set up inside and outside the Halifax Market Place, which is in the midst of a renovation project. Once the renovation is complete, the market will boast more floor space for vendors.

“I like the sense of community (at the market) and helping each other watch each other’s booths,” said vendor Micah Spell of 3 Friends Homestead. “I like to see the progress of the new part of our building as well. I have made many friends there.”

Spell plans to sell vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers and squash, and jams, jellies, pickles, relishes and sauces at the market’s season opening.

All vendors at the market will accept SNAP as payment, and all SNAP purchases will be matched.

No one will go hungry at the market’s season opening. Hot dogs, chips and water will be served free of charge while supplies last.

Adding to the fun, children have a chance to enter a drawing to win a free bike. Children ages 4 through 12 also can pick up activity packets for the Virtual Power of Produce Club, a variation of the traditional POP Club.

“Through the Two-Bite Club, POP participants are rewarded for taking two bites of the featured fruit or vegetable, and receive vouchers to spend on the foods of their choice at the market,” Barksdale explained. “Due to COVID-19, Halifax Market Place will host the Virtual POP Club. While still practicing social distancing guidelines, we also wanted to be able to offer something fun the kids and the adults. In partnering with the Healthy Harvest Community Garden and the Family Nutrition Program, we have decided to change it up and go virtual this season.”

Adults and children alike will have an opportunity to learn about gardening and the growing process from vendors at the market, while catching up with their friends and neighbors.

Folks attending the season opening can also look forward to vendor giveaways.

The market is at 209 S. Main St.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.