An assortment of plants and fresh flowers set the tone Saturday as the Harrison County Farmers Market, along with Marshall Main Street, celebrated the grand opening of market season at Telegraph Park.
“Today is the opening day for the Farmer’s Market; so we’re just excited to bring to our residents of Harrison County beautiful flowers, which we always do for the opening of the market,” said Suzanne Carter.
Main Street provides the annual fresh flower market, offering a deal of $5 per bouquet.
The Farmers Market was happy to welcome the Harrison County Master Gardeners Saturday after the group’s annual plant sale was canceled in March due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Deb Bates, president of the Harrison County Master Gardeners said they were pleased to be a part of Saturday’s grand opening.
“They canceled the plant sale and we were scheduled to be at the City Arena … so we had a choice just to trash it all or take good care of it, and because the Farmer’s Market is an essential service they couldn’t cancel it, so we’ve taken care of (the plants and produce) since March to wait ‘til today to come,” said Bates.
The group’s container tomatoes, ranging from purple Cherokee to Beefsteak, were most popular Saturday.
“So many people lost their tomatoes this year because of the rain,” said Bates.
“These you just take home,” she said of the container tomatoes, noting the reasonable price.
“We’re just trying to help the community,” Bates said. “You just put it in the sun, water it and you will have the tomatoes in three or four weeks. Some of them already got tiny little tomatoes on them.”
Other products by the Master Gardeners included a variety of peppers, eggplant, squash, watermelon, vegetables, herbs, plants and flowers.
“We’ve still got a lot of hummingbird and bee attractions here,” said Bates. “We’ve got the Texas Star hibiscus out the wazoo. We’ve got pink, white, and red.”
The group also gave away milkweed to help save the monarch population.
“That’s a host plant for the monarch butterfly” said Bates. “During migration they can’t survive without milkweed; and so we’re trying to get Harrison County populated so that the monarchs can (survive) the migration.”
Bates said patrons were glad to see the Master Gardeners there.
“It’s just a way to get with the community and let them know we care about them,” said Bates. “So many have come up and said: ‘When your sale was canceled we were heartbroken.’”
We’re pleasantly surprised,” she said of the response.
Besides produce, the Farmer’s Market offered an array of homemade wares, including soap, baked goods, kettle popcorn, jams, jellies, blankets, local honey, unique mirrors, crafty buttons, recycled totes and more.
“We will have more vendors this year than we’ve ever had,” said Carter.
Jill Goldsberry with the “Why Knot Shop” had a collection of macramé she handmade.
“She spent all winter making macramé,” said Carter, complimenting on how fabulous they look.
Patti Wood with the “Why Knot Shop” offered her custom sports team themed beads.
For Goldsberry, being a part of the Farmers Market has been refreshing.
“It’s the most amazing experience we’ve had in months,” said Goldsberry.
Vendor, Charles Allen, was also on the scene, selling a variety of produce, including tomatoes, okra, peppers and three kinds of squash.
Jennifer Brice with Busy B’s Bakery, out of Hallsville, offered bread, cookies and some fun jewelry.
Renee Pierce with A Wish & A Prayer Designs, of Jefferson, also had a great time Saturday.
“I’m just enjoying this beautiful day and opportunity to sell my goods,” said Pierce.
Zonita Bailey and Linda Bender teamed up to participate as a vendor for the first time. The two offered home-grown produce, which were all sold quickly.
“All the vegetables are gone,” Bailey shared.
Wreaths made by Bailey and jewelry made by Bender were also for sale.
Nathaniel McAlister, affectionately called “Nate the Pepper Man,” was also all smiles Saturday. He sold his entire small crop of peppers, ranging from jalapenos, cayenne and habanero, within the first hour.
“It was pretty good,” McAlister said of his sales. “What little I had, it was excellent.”
Sheri Yates, of GY Ranch, also returned to the Farmer’s Market with her specialty jams, jellies and jewelry.
Carter invites the public to come out, enjoy and visit the vendors at the Farmers Market, which will be at Telegraph Park through August, possibly to September, every Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday from 7 a.m. to noon.
“We have some fresh peaches from a local orchard,” Carter shared. “We’ve had folks come in with their Sugar Shack sno-cones.”
“Aunt Tammy’s Kitchen has sweet bread and loads of bread,” said Carter, sharing how bread has been a great necessity during the global crisis. “During the pandemic, everybody needed bread.”
With the pandemic going on, a good supply of food from venues such as the Farmers Market is very essential.
“It’s so all about locally sourced foods and where does your food come from; and where do your plants your fruits and your vegetables, because it’s just so important to us now,” said Carter.
With the state reopening, following the COVID-19 shutdown, Carter said the grand opening for the annual market is perfect timing.
“We’re maintaining social distance,” she said. “The city has been wonderful to help us with this also, and provided us with social distancing signs; so we are abiding by the recommendations for CDC (Centers for Disease Control). We’re trying to space out accordingly.
“We’ve all got sanitizer and we’re wearing the masks, so we’re doing the best we can to try to comply but also to make this fun for our residents and citizens,” said Carter.