Northern Neck News

 

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First market draws heavy crowd

By Dianne Saison 
Northern Neck News
8/4/2010 11:30:03 AM

Despite the sweltering heat on July 17, tourists and locals crowded Prince Street for the premiere of Tappahannock's Farmer's Market.

Over 30 vendors selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, to homegrown canned goods, seafood and novelty crafts hawked their wares to the hundreds of shoppers.

"This is really kind of neat," said Vendor Nathan France, owner of Millwood Farm in Warsaw. "I always thought Tappahannock would do well with this sort of thing. I hope the market keeps going and with more frequency."

For France, the day's events evoked poignant memories from his childhood.

"Back in the '50s my father and his brothers fished the Rappahannock and my Dad would come right here into town and sell the fresh fish," said France. "In the springtime he would sell strawberries. This year I am here, with my boys helping me."

France hopes to raise enough money from the monthly markets to help pay for his son Christopher's college tuition. He is also quick to point out that his booth was a family effort.

"My son Connor helped to grow a lot of the produce, and Christopher is helping the customers," said France. "This is just great. We are close to home and because we didn't have to fight traffic or go long distances we can sell everything at a reasonable price."

Another family effort was underway at a nearby canned-goods booth, where Cathy Stevens, of Aylett, joined by her husband and daughters, nearly sold out of everything they brought.

"My girls wanted to make extra money this year baby-sitting, but then I found all my grandmother's canning recipes in the attic and our family business, Hobo's Kitchen, was born," said Stevens. "We started out with just apple butter and pickles, but we have a whole lot more to come."

Faunce's Seafood was another crowd pleaser and by the close of the day they had little left to pack up.

"There was a big turnout today," said Bill Howeth as he served people from Faunce's booth. "We are just about sold out. I think a lot of people left here pleased."

Peter Trible, a local attorney and member of the Tappahannock Main Street program, couldn't agree more.

"The whole purpose of today was to bring attention to downtown Tappahannock and create revitalization," said Trible. "This was the perfect fit, we are seeing a resurgence of the farmer's market."

According to Trible, one of the most important factors in the day's success was the organized, regional effort from both sides of the river.

People are now transacting business in their own communities more, but we have an important major resource here in Tappahannock, we are a major hub on the river," said Trible. "Tappahannock is a jewel being slowly uncovered."

The Farmers Market is the most recent initiative of the Tappahannock Main Street Program, a community based organization devoted to revitalizing the historic downtown section of Tappahannock.

"[Today's market] has been really important because it is the first visible project that has come to fruition," said Main Street Chairman Forrest French. "For a long time it has all been about infrastructure."

French, who was pleased by the overwhelming turnout, said that area-wide cooperation made the Market a success.

Platinum Sponsors included EVB, Essex Bank, RivahFest, The Essex County Rotary and the Rappahannock Electrical Cooperative, which each donated $1,000 with WRAR Rivah Country donating in-kind with publicity and announcements. Counted amongst Silver sponsors were MetroCast, Perdue and Dominion Virginia Power. According to French, the generosity from the community and sponsors has been outstanding.

"A lot of people, from both sides of the river, have come out of the woodwork to donate and help us organize this," said French. "Produce farmers are asking why not every Saturday and you know what? Why Not!"

The next Farmer's Market is currently scheduled for August 21, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. More details on the market and the Tappahannock Main Street program can be found at tappahannockmainstreet.org.

 

 

 

 


 

 
   
By Dianne Saison

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