Bluegrass music, country cooking, crafts, giveaways and vendors with a wide variety of offerings await folks attending the Downtown South Boston Farmers Market’s grand opening, set for Saturday starting at 8 a.m. The market is at 300 Broad St.
Sonny Buck’s Happy Heifer food truck will be on site offering up country kitchen-style cooking, while the Bluegrass Five band will play some tunes. Meanwhile, attendees can leisurely browse the vendors’ offerings. Vendors from all over Halifax County will offer up their farm-fresh items to market customers.
The market also is bringing back an offering that has not been available to customers so far this year because of COVID-19 restrictions — handmade crafts.
“Crafts are back,” said market manager Megan Throckmorton-Harris. “We’ve followed the best practice outlined by the Virginia Farmers Market Association of not allowing non-essential items in order to keep everyone at our market safe. Now we are super excited to bring them back and provide the community with some amazing homemade items. Some things you may see this Saturday are cornhole boards and bags, awesome custom apparel, Southern style home décor, numerous crochet items, custom garden borders, cups and more.”
Mark and Sherry Edie, owners of Busy Bee Farm in Virgilina, are among the vendors who will sell their farm-fresh food and handcrafted items at the market’s grand opening.
“We are bringing produce, pasture-raised chicken and canned goods — jams and jellies, butter and sweet pickles and salsa,” said Sherry Edie. “I will be bringing all my handmade soap products, which are made from organic oils. We will also be bringing a lot of our crafts. I make reusable water balloons for kids. They can dip them in water and throw them, wash them and reuse them. They’re a lot of fun.”
Giveaways and a 50/50 raffle with a chance to win prizes from a Southern Plenty gift basket to gift certificates to downtown businesses will add to the fun at the market grand opening. The Halifax County-South Boston Public Library System also will be on site offering free books to community members.
The market manager has designed the grand opening event not only to be fun for attendees but also educational, giving them the opportunity to learn more about where their food comes from and maybe even start learning how to grow their own food. For example, the market is restarting its educational Power of Produce program for children ages 2-18 at Saturday’s event.
“POP is back and better than ever. Kids will have the opportunity to learn more about the vegetable of the week by participating in a scavenger hunt style questionnaire,” Throckmorton-Harris said. “We believe meeting their farmers, asking questions and gathering information is the perfect hands-on approach to having an amazing POP experience and deserves a $5 voucher to purchase healthy food at the market.”
Throckmorton-Harris added that one of her goals with the POP program is to get children interested in learning about farming at an early age.
“It’s a skill they can learn in the future,” she said. “Anybody can grow their own food.”
The market is launching a new program — a “grow-it-yourself” program — at Saturday’s grand opening as well. The program is for people of all ages and is funded by a Microsoft ChangeX grant.
“We’re trying to educate the community about where their food comes from and encouraging them to grow their own food,” Throckmorton-Harris said. “Once a month (as part of the program), they’ll come home with either a free plant or a seed packet.”
Among the vendors slated to attend the grand opening are Busy Bee Farm, Thaxton Farm1, Paige’s Produce, TC Cattle, Coleman Creek Farm, Once Upon a Time Soap, Formal Springs Outfitters, Lil Nelson Farm, Brooks Family Enterprises, Little Sister Bakery, Broad Shoulders Farm, Buttercups, Pete’s Pantry and Alton Throckmorton.
The market will have measures in place to keep vendors and customers alike safe Saturday during the COVID-19 pandemic, Throckmorton-Harris noted.
“We’re still low-touch to non-touch at the market. There are plenty of hand washing stations so customers can practice good hygiene,” the market manager said. In addition, all the vendors will be wearing masks.
Saturday’s grand opening is the first of two major events planned this month at the Downtown South Boston Farmers Market. The market’s “hot dog days of summer” is set for July 18, starting at 8 a.m. Members of the South Boston Town Council plan to cook the hot dogs for community members to enjoy, and the Virgilina band Red Bank Revival is slated to provide the entertainment.