Dodging rain showers, shoppers were checking out the latest offerings of locally grown produce, baked goods and hand-crafted products at Asheville City Market South in Biltmore Park Town Square last Wednesday afternoon.
Gathered around a bright orange tent, folks tasted samples of Jan’s Carrot Cakes. One of the newest vendors at the market, owner and baker Sheri Campos had brought a variety of carrot cakes with traditional and fruit toppings, including those with lemon, blueberry, coconut and pineapple. She also creates gluten-free cakes for those who prefer option.
Across the way, Lynne Froeba was selling sweet and spicy pecans in different flavors at her Farm Girl Foodie business. Having grown up on a farm in Alabama with an orchard, Froeba is well-acquainted with pecans, which she buys from Atwell Farm in Georgia and prepares for sale.
Froeba has been at the market for the past three years, coming each Wednesday afternoon from noon to 4 p.m. when it is open.
“It’s a beautiful market,” Froeba said.
However, many people don’t know it is here in the shopping center, she said. Also, this season there has been so much rain that it has affected business, she added.
Tom Ross of High Country Nursery, who has been bringing plants and trees to the market since it first opened a few years ago, said he has had success at this location.
“I’ve had pretty good traffic,” he remarked.
The nursery that Ross and his wife operate in Fairview specializes in Japanese maples, fruiting shrubs, roses and conifers. A lot of people enjoy the roses he sells because they have a good fragrance, Ross said.
Glancing at the cloudy sky, Ross said he comes to the market rain or shine. A former meteorologist, Ross understands weather patterns and says that the market is located in a spot where thunderstorms occur fairly often.
Farmers selling fresh vegetables grown in area gardens were also talking about this year’s rainy season, which they say has affected some crops such as tomatoes and beans.
However, a smiling Danielle Keeter of Stonecrop Garden said that she had sold out of summer squash at last Wednesday’s market. Baskets of new potatoes, cucumbers, onions and collards were still available for purchase at her booth.
Stonecrop is a certified naturally grown garden uses organic seeds and no animal by-products for fertilizing the soil, Keeter said. Other farms including Tree Family Farm of Burnsville also were selling fresh produce, which changes according to the growing season.
A seafood vendor had supplies of fresh shrimp from the Carolina coast, scallops and Irish salmon, which he sells at the market and to area restaurants. And at Confections of a Queen, cheese straws, cookies and pastries were available.
In addition to foods and produce, several vendors were offering cosmetic products, including Bonnie Bath Organic Body Care and Bella and Oliver handmade soaps.
Asheville City Market South is operated by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, a nonprofit organization that provides marketing support and training to area farmers. ASAP also promotes a Local Food Campaign and certifies locally grown products as Appalachian Grown, along with organizing tailgate markets in the Asheville area.
The market is held on Town Square Boulevard in the center of Biltmore Park Town Square at the Long Shoals Road exit off Interstate 26. It is open each Wednesday afternoon through Oct. 31.
By Sandra Barnes