Twenty-nine vendors offering eggs, goat milk, pies, cakes, meats, boiled peanuts, herbs, landscape plants, fresh greens and more set up booths in front of the courthouse in downtown Watkinsville yesterday for the launch of the 11th season of the Oconee Farmers Market.
The cool but sunny day brought out a good crowd of customers, and several vendors reported doubling their sales from market opening a year ago, according to Market Manager Cindy Pritchard.
“You could not ask for a more perfect day,” she said.
Blue Grass Music In Air
The Red Oak Southern String Band, a Watkinsville group that does blue grass, folk and Americana music, provided background to the chatter of the market. The group is a Market favorite and traditionally has played at market opening.
Among the 29 vendors were two who were new to the Market. Phickles Pickles, a husband and wife vendor, offering a variety of pickled vegetable, and Sheri Stout showing her hand-made jewelry.
The remaining 27 vendors were Market veterans.
Customers saw familiar faces selling such things as beef, pork, honey, breads, dog biscuits, mushrooms, jams and jellies.
On the first day of the Market last year, 33 vendors offered their products for customers.
Pritchard said the cool weather and slow start to the growing season meant that fewer vendors this year than last were ready to offer spring greens and other produce.
They will return with the warm weather, she said.
The Market is a non-profit, with vendors paying 5 percent of their sales to support advertising and other market activities. (I am a customer representative on the Board of Directors for the Market.)
At its peak last year, the Market had 42 vendors, with a total of more than 100 different vendors across the season. The Market is open only to local farmers and others who sell their own farm-related products.
The Market will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday until the end of November.
On May 13, the Market will begin its weekday operation from 4 to 7 p.m. at Watkinsville First Christian Church at the corner of Simonton Bridge Road and Main Street, also in downtown Watkinsville.