One of the largest crowds of the season at the Yancey County Farmers’ Market was treated to a variety of special events last Saturday. It was the annual ‘Tomato-Fest” – celebrating the tomato harvest and pitting market members against each other to vie for the tastiest tomato, according to market visitors.
Nearly a dozen different tomatoes were sampled by visitors, and some 180 ballots were cast. At the end, Robert Thompson repeated as winner for the third year in a row, winning the blue ribbon for his “Black Icicle” tomato, and also second place for his “Bee Log Pink”. Tara Lee rounded out the top three with her “Sugary Cherry” tomato.
What was not publicized much, but which made the day for many market members and visitors alike was the “Crazy Hat Day”. Market manager Teresa Stauder asked each market member to wear their craziest hat on Saturday, and there was a wide variety of “craziness” exhibited – from functional farm and sun hats, to whimsical hand-made creations.
An informal poll selected Sandra Hood and Kathryn Skelley-Watts as the winners. Sandra called her hat “road kill”, and Kathryn’s looked like something that had just emerged from a spaceship! Tara Lee ran a close third with her red and white “mushroom” hat.
Market offerings were also newsworthy. The market welcomed Adam and Emily Hopson and their “Happy Hens and Highlands Farm. They will be selling free-range and organically fed frozen chickens.
There was also the first local sweet corn at the market last week. Apple grower David Duncan had a few dozen ears, which sold out quickly, but Judith and Gerald Riddle brought dozens of ears from their farm. Apparently visitors were impressed, as Judith had to make a mid-morning run back to the farm to pick up more corn! They’ll be back this week.
This Week at the Yancey County Farmers’ Market In addition to corn and chicken, look for snap beans, filet beans, beets, blueberries, black raspberries, broccoli, carrots, chives, cucumbers, eggplant, fresh herbs, fennel, garlic, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, onions, potatoes, salad mix, scallions, summer squash, Swiss chard and tomatoes. Other farm products available include honey, eggs (including quail eggs), goat cheese, seeds, cut flowers and arrangements, beef, and pork. Homemade jams and jellies, as well as fresh baked goods abound, and a wide variety of plants –both annuals and perennials – are also available. You’ll also find a variety of local crafts.
Of course, there are always hot and cold drinks, plus market souvenirs to round out your visit. The market is open each Saturday from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. It is located behind the Burnsville Town Center – Hwy 19E at South Main Street.
Article by David Fleckenstein, courtesy of Yancey Times Journal. Photos by David Fleckenstein