Market at the Mill opens for the season

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 14, 2012

By Shavonne Potts
CHINA GROVE — When the clock struck 4 p.m. on Friday, Christine Ervin was already waiting with her cash for China Grove Market at the Mill’s opening day waiting to buy plants and vegetables.
Ervin, a China Grove native, said she likes to support Rowan County and likes that there’s a fresh market in her own hometown.
“I love that China Grove has this. It’s wonderful,” Ervin said.
Ervin said she can always find quality items at a good price.
“I come every week. I liked the baked goods and the produce is really good,” she said.
When she stops by the market, Ervin always buys plants from David and Crystal Allen of Tranquility Farm, who offer flowering plants and, when they’re in season, blackberries and muscadines. The couple, who are also beekeepers, sell honey as well.
The flowers, David said, are grown in the family’s greenhouse.
The Allens have participated as vendors for the last three years.
Eduardo Fandino of Concord said he and his family were just driving by and decided to stop.
He bought some tomato plants to add to his own garden.
“Fresh is better,” he said of the market.
He vows to return to the China Grove market.
His granddaughter, Joselyn Fernandez, 6, said her favorite fruit is strawberries.
“Strawberries taste good,” she said simply.
Fandino bought items from Miller and Sons Produce.
Laura Miller and her husband, Robert, along with sons Brock and Seth, have participated in the market since the beginning. However, they have been selling their produce at other markets throughout the area for some time now.
The family also sells produce at Piedmont Farmers Market in Cabarrus County.
In the last few weeks, Laura and her family spent hours picking strawberries. They also had lettuce, cabbage, beets, onions, broccoli and eggs available Friday.
“It’s a chance to give the community a chance to buy from local farmers,” she said.
Located at the market just a few feet away is Mike Miller of Miller’s Produce. He is Robert Miller’s brother.
His son, Adam, 11, helped sell the family’s produce on Friday.
The family returns every year to China Grove and also sells produce in Statesville and Salisbury, Adam said.
Just a few yards from the Millers was Tim Karriker, who is Laura Miller’s brother.
Karriker and his father, James, sell produce as well.
In addition to the China Grove Market, the two Karrikers also sell along West C Street in Kannapolis.
Dolan Allison is a regular customer to the China Grove Market.
“I come every year,” he said.
Allison said he tries to always buy fresh. He likes that you’re able to see and touch the vegetables for freshness and can talk to the seller.
Dan Cosgrove and fiancée, Danielle Wright of Barnhardt Farm & Vineyard were at the market for the first time.
Dan just graduated from college with a degree in horticulture.
He said although he would not consider himself an organic farmer, he gets as close to natural as possible.
Dan hopes to have peas soon, and right now, has turnips, radishes, beets, squash and cucumbers among other fruits and vegetables.
Friday afternoon marked the opening day of the Market at the Mill. The market is located at 308 N. Main St., at the China Grove Roller Mill Museum, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The market is open each Friday from May to October.
The market is sponsored by the Historical Society of South Rowan.
For more information about the market, contact Market Manager Alan Goodman at 704-857-5938.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.