Outside of a backyard garden, one can’t find produce that’s more local than what’s offered at the Downtown South Boston Farmers Market. After more than 32 years, still nearly two dozen vendors come together throughout the seasons to support the South Boston and Halifax County community.
From fresh produce to crafts, seasonal treats, eggs and meats, pies and preserves, the market offers something for everyone, and it’s the vendors of the market who make it all happen. They are the small businesses that make the market what it is.
Most are small farmers, often husband and wife teams, sharing the surplus from their family garden patch. Others grow almost exclusively for the market, bringing bushels to town every week.
A handful are artisans and craftspeople bringing handmade, if not homegrown, goods to the market.
Some are testing the waters for the first time, while others have built up a clientele over the years who look for their unique items.
The vendors at the market don’t just serve local families; they are themselves a family with farmers keeping up with farmers, enjoying coffee and iced tea together Saturday mornings and checking in on one another during extreme weather or family hardships. That sort of thing just happens naturally when you work side by side every season for the better part of a decade or longer.
Indeed, some of today’s vendors practically grew up at the market.
Brenda Watts, known for bringing tomatoes, beans and squash in massive quantities, was bringing daughter Kayla as a kindergartener. Now 13 years later, Kayla sells beside her mom most Saturdays.
Likewise, Kimberly Rich started coming to the market 11 years ago as a teenager and now runs the Tuck Farms set up at the market with her husband, Matthew.
Anyone curious to know who’s putting in all the hard work to provide some of the best local produce and handmade goods, come by the market and talk with a vendor.
Saturday mornings from 7 a.m. to noon is the busiest time, but more and more vendors are coming during weekday mornings, Tuesday through Friday.
Follow the market’s Facebook page for the latest information on what’s available as well as special events and check out this short guide to vendors with how long they’ve been at the market and what they’re known for:
• Ben Capozzi (Broad Shoulders Farm) — two years; organic, no-sugar baked goods and colorful eggs
• Shemeka Chisholm (Paparazzi Jewelry) — one year; fun and fashion, nickel and lead free jewelry, all $5 each
• Sylvia Coblentz — one year; pies, baked goods and fresh strawberries in spring
• Karen Cole (Bellair Farms) — 12 years; fall mums
• Jennifer Crews — one year; scented bath bombs and lip balms
• Stephanie Culley — one year; hand made earrings
• Paige Fallen (Paige’s Produce) — two years; wide variety from tomatoes to baked goods to flowers and wreaths
• Sandra Ferri (Once Upon a Time Soaps) — one year; handmade soaps
• Brandy Green (Sweet Serenity’s) — one year; sweet treats, named after her daughter
• Salomon Jefferess — one year; returning after five years away, large variety of produce
• Peggy Jones — one year; produce
• Bobby Jordan — 11 years; blueberries and heirloom tomatoes
• Edwin Lacks — one year; large variety of produce
• Anthony Landrum — two years; large variety of tomatoes grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, grown in a hoop house for early and late season availability
• Simply Sewn — one year; hand made aprons
• Jerry Sherwood — three years; kale, salad greens, tomatoes
• Billy Slagle — two years; fresh farm eggs
• Lynn Spry (Virgilina Acres) — 12 years; cherry tomatoes, salad greens, shiitake mushrooms
• John Thaxton (Thaxton Farms) — four years; wide variety of meat, preserves, pies and greens
• Ralph Tuck (Tuck Farms) — 10 years, USDA certified organic vegetable plants
• Susan Korn (Korn Creations) — one year; elegant handmade jewelry at affordable prices, made using gemstones, silver, gold, copper or brass
• Brenda Watts — 13 years; bushels of beans, tomatoes and squash
• Gary Whitt and Alton Throckmorton — eight years; red tomatoes and even redder suspenders