First Farmers Market opensVendors pleased with market sales, weather
Warm weather greeted the crowd at the first farmers market of the year in Washington Thursday evening. Booths were positioned around the southwest corner of Central Park in the grass that has grown ever thicker in the two years since the bandstand’s renovation.
Lisa Martin had one of the best markets of her farmers market career Thursday. Martin sold all the baked goods she took with her, which she said has only happened once or twice before.
“I knew it was going to be a good night, but not this good,” she said. “It’s safe to say this was a successful market for us.”
Martin’s daughters, Brittany and Esther, also bake treats to sell at the market. Brittany had her own section of the Martins’ table Thursday where she displayed her ginger-snap and chocolate chip cookies.
Lisa said she plans to be at every market this year “unless I get a vacation.”
Brittany said she planned to be at all the markets, too, “unless I feel lazy and watch TV instead.”
Doris Porter was a vendor at Thursday’s market and said the nice weather was responsible for the healthy crowd on hand.
“This is a perfect day,” she said. “There is a lot of excitement for the first market.”
Porter sells handmade dish cloths of various colors. She said Thursday that her blue cloths were selling very well.
“I’ve been making them for 15 to 20 years,” she said. “I’ve made hundreds in my life. If I’m sitting at home watching television, I can make one in about two hours.”
Porter said she has sold at the market for the past couple of years and plans to be at the market as many weeks as she can this year.
David Hotz-Haywood said he spent nearly a day and a half preparing for the market. Hotz-Haywood sold baked beans, pulled pork and other meats, which he started seasoning the day before. After spending four to five hours seasoning the meat, cleaning the grill and performing other chores Wednesday, Hotz-Haywood was back in the kitchen at 6:30 a.m. Thursday.
Hotz-Haywood said the crowd was good for the first market of the year but said it will grow even larger as the summer goes on.
“Business picks up when the band plays,” he said. “A lot of people come out for that. They bring their chairs and sit and eat. A lot of people buy their dinner at the market. There’s good food and good music, so people make an evening of it.”
Doug and Tanya Webster sold tomato plants at the market that were much taller than normal for this time in May. Doug said the warm weather early in the year allowed the plants in the greenhouse to grow to double their usual height. His tomato plants are normally 8 to 12 inches tall at this time, but he had a few for sale that were pushing 2 feet.
The Websters said they have already been to the Fairfield farmers market three times. Tanya said she was would have liked to start the Washington market sooner but realized the weather doesn’t always cooperate in early May.
The Websters run “Rolling Prairie Acres” near Sigourney. They have 96 varieties of heirloom tomatoes that range in color from red to pink to yellow to black. Doug said he just recently planted 1,600 tomato plants on their five-acre garden. Later in the year, they will switch from selling tomato plants to selling the produce at the market.
Market master Bob Shepherd said he was pleased with the size of Thursday’s crowd. He said he thought everyone was ready for it because of the early spring. He said some people called him to request that he move the market earlier in the year but he resisted because of the unpredictability of May weather.