Mar­ket pro­vides place for meet­ing friends, neigh­bors

The Standard Journal - - Lifestyle - By AGNES HAGIN

People of all ages come to the Rock­mart Farm­ers Mar­ket.

They are there be­fore 3 p.m. Thurs­days to min­gle with neigh­bors, friends and people they have never met.

If it rains, they come and sum­mer’s siz­zling heat doesn’t di­min­ish the crowd.

This proved true on Thurs­day, June 26, when a sum­mer storm brought wind and rain prior to the open­ing of the lo­cal mar­ket. And, it was hot!

Ven­dors came and set up their wares de­spite the pud­dles and run­ning wa­ter. Then, the crowds of people be­gan to ar­rive. They did not seem to mind the weather as they shopped for a par­tic­u­lar item.

Mar­ket Man­ager Erica Gor­don said there is an aver­age of 15 to 20 ac­tive ven­dors who bring some­thing each week.

The shop­pers have their own ex­pe­ri­ences to share.

Paul Nip­per said he has a gar­den in the mid­dle of a kudzu patch. Grow­ing there are many veg­eta­bles, ex­clud­ing cu­cum­bers.

“I am look­ing for the best I can find,” he said. “I plan to pickle the ones I buy.”

His visit was not in vain.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Nip­per learned that Tom­mie Walker brought some­thing dif­fer­ent – seed­less squash.

Ray Gar­rett was look­ing for honey, which was one of the items pro­vided by Sue Ed­wards and her grand­son Aden Ed­wards.

They came from Rosedale near Rome and Ed­wards smiled as he talked of shar­ing du­ties with his grand­mother dur- ing the sum­mer months.

Bob Wat­ford of Cedar­town was there to get veg­eta­bles and Amanda Giles, Makaya, Eli and Isaac Giles were there to see what was avail­able. They stopped to view the dis­play - in­clud­ing toma­toes - set up by Don­ald Cochran of Tay­lorsville.

Two girls were there to re­veal their talent. Ivy Gor­don showed sev­eral pieces of art she had com­pleted and Sa­van­nah Gor­don of North Carolina was show­ing wal­lets she had made.

Shop­pers also asked ques­tions of farm­ers and gar­den­ers seek­ing ex­per­tise in grow­ing pro­duce.

Other rea­sons they came to the Rock­mart Farm­ers Mar­ket are:

The fruits and veg­eta­bles pur­chased at the lo­cal farm­ers mar­ket are the fresh­est and tasti­est avail­able. Fruits are al­lowed to ripen fully in the field and are brought di­rectly to the mar­ket - no long-dis­tance ship­ping, no gass­ing to sim­u­late the ripen­ing process and no sit­ting for weeks in stor­age.

The food bought at the farm­ers mar­ket is sea­sonal. It is fresh and de­li­cious and re­flects the truest fla­vors. Shop­ping and cook­ing from the farm­ers mar­ket helps people re­con­nect with the cy­cles of na­ture in the re­gion.

Sup­port neigh­bors and friends who gar­den or live on a farm. Buy­ing di­rectly from grow­ers gives them a bet­ter re­turn for their pro­duce.

Food at the farm­ers mar­ket is trans­ported shorter dis­tances and is gen­er­ally grown us­ing meth­ods that min­i­mize the im­pact on the earth.

Ed­u­ca­tional pre­sen­ta­tions help shop­pers with such things as a way to cook dif­fer­ent foods and more.

So­cial­iz­ing with friends and neigh­bors brings a feel­ing of com­mu­nity to many who are se­nior cit­i­zens. It pro­vides a com­mu­nity hub or a place where many meet with friends, bring their chil­dren and grand­chil­dren or just en­joy a feel­ing of home­town.

“I love com­ing here each week,” said Suzy Green. “It is fun!”

Pho­tos: Agnes Hagin/SJ

Paul Nip­per ar­rives at Rock­mart Veg­etable Mar­ket look­ing for cu­cum­bers and found that Tommy Walker brought seed­less squash.

Sue Ed­wards and her grand­son Aden from Rosedale near Rome pro­vides a va­ri­ety of items to shop­pers, in­clud­ing honey.

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