Farmers market opening set

Published 9:55 am Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Charlotte County farmers market at Drakes Branch will kick off its third season May 4 at the Drakes Branch Pavilion, according to Charlotte County Farmer’s Market Advisor and Agriculture Extension Agent Bob Jones.

The opening market will include music by Jeremy Elder, and Jones said if any other local musicians are interested in performing on the first Friday of each month, talent is welcomed.

“Peggy Newcomb will be there with her wood art,” said Jones referring to opening day.

According to Jones, the Charlotte County farmer’s market will see a variety of new vendors and changes for the upcoming season, including an additional satellite location in Charlotte Court House next to the municipal building.

“I think there’s a certain amount of clientele that we may be missing due to hours, some due to they may be leaving the court house area, headed to Keysville …,” said Jones.

He said he hopes to catch some of that traffic with the additional market.

This year, Jones said the Drakes Branch market will operate on Fridays only and run through the last Friday in September. However, the hours will remain the same as the last two previous seasons, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. on the first Friday of each month. “We cannot start selling anything until 10 a.m.,” emphasized Jones.

He said the extra two hours on the first Friday of the month will serve as a measure to see if enough support can be generated for the additional hours.

In addition, Jones said Bright Meadows Farm of Nathalie, a new winery vendor will be available at the market on the first Friday of each month to host wine tastings. “(Drakes Branch) Town Council agreed to let us do a wine tasting,” he said.

Jones said all permits are in place for the tastings and two or three wines will be showcased at a time, out of 13 total wines. “Wines and hard cider and all that are a big part of agriculture now,” he said.

In addition to the new wine tastings at the market, several other new products will be featured including fresh flowers bouquets and cut flowers from Rosefield Farm and Flowers in Appomattox.

“For all the spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends that get in the dog house, come by the farmer’s market and buy a bottle of wine and a bouquet of flowers …,” joked Jones.

Permanent and returning vendors include Archlynn Farms selling bedding plants and flowers, Baker’s Farm Fresh, Goldman Farms, Long Ears Herbs, Amish baked goods, Yummytown Cookies and Stratmoore Farms, available at the market on the first and third Friday’s of each month.

On the weeks Stratmoore Farms is not available, Virginia State University will be available to provide sample dishes.

Jones said vegetable preorders are available and Bumper’s food truck of Drakes Branch will be at the Farmer’s Market every Friday with food.

“We’ll add additional vendors here and there as we go through the season,” he said.

In addition, he said the market wanted to feature a different seasonal product each Friday. He said the two produce vendors, Goldman Farms and Baker’s Farm Fresh, have agreed to offer free seasonal products, including free slices of watermelon.

“You never know what you’re going to find . . .,” Jones said. In addition to the Charlotte County Farmer’s Market at Drakes Branch, a new satellite location in Charlotte Court House will soon be open.

“We’ve been doing some thinking the last few years,” said Jones. “A lot of your farmer’s Markets that are very, very successful, which we have been … they have an early week market and like a Friday or a Saturday market. So, working under the Charlotte County farmer’s market … we were going to have a satellite location in Charlotte Court House on Tuesday afternoons …,” he said.

The Charlotte Court House location will operate from 3-6 p.m. Jones said the hours will be evaluated depending on the support of the satellite market.

Confirmed vendors will include Wildwood Farms and Berries and Archlynn Farms, featuring a variety of produce, cut flowers and bedding plants, he said.

“There’s a potential we may expand, depending on how successful we are over there,” said Jones.