Community Market Grapevine by Mike Burton

A weekly column published in the Floyd Press related to the Community Market.

I hope you had a chance to catch the first of our weekly mini-festivals this past Friday evening in downtown Floyd.  The scene was just as I had pictured it with many folks on the streets, music and good food and a full market of local artisans with an interested and engaged clientele both local and from afar.  It was quite a Friday night and great way to open the season.  Come out and join the fun this Friday starting at 4 pm and going until . . ., well, until everyone goes home.

The farmers market will be open again this Saturday morning from 8 a.m. until 12 noon.  Did your zucchinis get zapped by the freeze of Sunday night like mine?  No worries as we’ll have vegetable and flower seedlings available from Good Food Good People to fill in that suddenly available garden space.

Kester Clark Farm had several flats of fresh strawberries last week and promise more this week to go along with the lettuce mix and spring greens fresh picked from their garden just for the market.  Spring snap peas may also make their first appearance this week. Here’s hoping!

A full offering of local meats and eggs will be available as well as gourmet cheeses, locally-made cutting boards and even a few berry bushes for your home landscape.  And of course, don’t miss the fresh bread baked just for the market from Sweetwater Bakery.  I’ve really been enjoying Sweetwater’s Baker’s Bread as warm toast with homemade preserves as a nice morning snack.  Man, it doesn’t get any better than that!

One vendor rather unique to our market is Putali Herbal.  Owned and operated by Liz Shukwit out of Check, Putali Herbal offers aromatherapy products crafted by Liz herself in small batches to ensure freshness and potency.  She offers a full range of wonderful products from bath oils and tonics to sleep aids and bug spray.  Putali uses only the finest organic, sustainable and wildcrafted aromatherapeutic essential oils and all the oils and bases are edible grade. Putali will be at the market each Saturday and Liz loves to discuss her creations and their applications for her customers.  Look for Putali next to Sweetwater Bread at the market.

People who know me know I’m a little over the top when it comes to food, so here goes.  There’s always been this vague, undefined feeling when I taste local food superior to anything at the supermarket.  It’s like when I bite into that Sweetwater toast: sure I like the taste but there’s something behind that sensation and I’m starting to narrow it down.  I think it’s pride. Pride that this top-shelf product came from our little community, from people I know.

Mixed in there might be the knowledge that 100% of my money went to them and stayed right here to be spent in our community.  Wendell Berry famously said, “Eating is an agricultural act.”  Perhaps eating can be a “community act” as well and with it, all the joys and comfort community brings.   

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