Back in season: Farmers market reopens in Salisbury

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, April 18, 2023

SALISBURY — As sure as the springtime rolls around, so too are the growers and shoppers at the Salisbury Farmers Market, which reopened for the season on Saturday.

For vendors like Kevin and Carrie Crawford, who own Faith-based coffee shop Carolina Craze, the market is their bread and butter.

“A lot of it is exposure and marketing,” Kevin Crawford said. “We are not necessarily looking at being one of the bigger ones. We are more interested in being one of the better ones. To be better, you have to be smaller to some extent. The farmers market allows us to get out and be exposed to that small market that is there to enjoy … Salisbury has a lot of traffic coming through, fortunately.”

Saturday was the opening day for the farmers market. C.J. Peters, the farmers market board’s treasurer, expressed excitement at the turnout.

“There are some new faces today, but I would say we are about 70 percent (regulars) and 30 percent new,” Peters said. “It’s such a vibrant farmers market now. We have had problems in the past with different locations, but this pavilion really fits us.”

The farmers market is located in the Rail Walk Arts District.

Mike Miller is the farmers market board president.

“We started up on Bank Street 20 years ago,” Miller said. “We had a heck of a market up there.”

Miller said he had heard mixed reviews and the market had inconsistent attendance before relocating to its current spot on Kerr Street.

Like Peters, Miller is enjoying the pavilion space.

In addition to serving as the farmers market board president, Miller runs Miller Farms in China Grove, so he was also selling plants.

“We have tomato plants, squash, cucumber, vegetables, herbs and lettuce,” Miller said Saturday, noting strawberries will arrive this week.

Miller relishes the interaction that the farmers market brings.

“We have a wide variety of customers here,” Miller said. “You have all walks of life come up here. Everybody is friendly … this is more of a community, get together and social hang out.”

Much like Miller, David Correll serves on the board and sells produce from his farm.

“We have a lot of different greens,” Correll said. “We have bok choy, lettuces, onions, garlic and all types of greens today. The variety and amount of everything will just increase as we go through the next few weeks.”

Getting back out to the farmers market is something that Correll looks forward to all winter long.

“We love opening day,” Correll said. “It is good to see everybody again, and give them some hugs, and see folks that we haven’t seen since the fall.”

Purveying the produce on Saturday was farmers market regular Lynn Carter, who described herself as a die-hard.

“I come to this market every Saturday before I go to any grocery store in Salisbury,” Carter said. “I love the people. We have some vendors that have been coming here for 37 years.

During the winter, when the farmers market isn’t open, Carter indicated that she goes “crazy” looking for good food.

“I’m a forager,” Carter said. “I am always looking for fresh greens.”

It might be smaller, but Carter said that the Salisbury Farmers Market is more personable.

Not everything at the farmers market is ready to eat. Ashley Honbarrier of Happy Roots was selling plant kits, which help every gardener, from the aspirational to the seasoned veteran, start a garden. She noticed a need for it when the COVID-19 pandemic began and she has been carrying it on.

“Back when COVID first hit, and schools shut down, we started doing the garden kits for students,” Honbarrier said. “It was a really big hit. We ended up making 250 of those kits. A lot of the families that started with them are still using them today, so it was a really good way to get people into gardening.”

The farmers market would not be complete without a little accompanying music. Peters indicated that plans for a performer for Saturday were disrupted by the singer Chelsea Rae Childers’ untimely death last month.

“It’s an open mic today,” Peters said. “Chelsea Rae Childers was supposed to play today. She passed. She was my opener. I was going to play with her … she loves the farmers market. It was going to be really special. She played about four or five times a year.”

Peters hoped he could do Childers’ memory justice as he performed.

The Salisbury Farmers Market is open from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday. It is located at 228 E. Kerr Street.