Island Farmers’ Market moves to Avon
The weekly Hatteras Island Farmers’ Market will be held on the grounds
of Hatteras Realty in Avon beginning on Tuesday, July 27.
Hatteras Realty is located on the west side of Highway 12 next to the
Avon Post Office.
The decision to relocate the market from the Fessenden Center to Avon
was based on economics. Vendors expressed concern
attendance dropped significantly at this week’s event. The
location is more visible and thus better able to attract customers.
“Our farmers invest a lot of time and money driving here from the
mainland and they understandably want to maximize sales. Visibility is
key to their success,” said Joanne Throne, president of Coastal
Harvesters, Inc., the non-profit sponsoring the market.
The market features fruits, vegetables, beef, sausage, herbs, eggs,
baked goods, preserves, pottery and other goods grown or made by North
Carolina farmers and artisans, including island residents.
The Hatteras Island Farmers’ Market is open each Tuesday from 9 a.m.
until 1 p.m. through the end of August.
June 28, 2010
markets bring local food and crafts to Hatteras Island
may have been an oppressively hot and humid day, but that certainly
didn’t stop a multitude of islanders and visitors from stopping by the
first Hatteras Island Farmers’ Market on Tuesday, June 22. It seems the
opportunity to finally buy fresh, all-natural food direct from local
farmers trumped the need for air conditioning, and, despite the heat,
the general vibe at the farmers’ market was one of excitement and
“Thank you so much for being here,” a happy, sweat-drenched customer
said to Nicole Spruill, of Coastal Farmers, as she walked away with an
armful of Spruill’s fresh produce.
Similar exchanges could be heard throughout the day, at any of the
vendors’ tents—whether they were selling meat, eggs, produce, or cat
The farmers’ market is sponsored by Coastal Harvesters, Inc., a
non-profit, membership-based organization that was formed early last
year, with the specific goal of bringing a farmers’ market to Hatteras
Island. The market was slated to begin last summer, but due
time and budget constraints, it was delayed.
The group had a test-market last November to gauge local interest, and
what the organizers discovered was, basically, islanders really wanted
a local farmer’s market. And this summer, thanks to Coastal Harvesters,
they’ll have one.
Tuesday’s market was the first of weekly markets that will run now
through Aug. 31. The markets will be held each Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1
p.m. at the Burrus Field (next to the fire station) in Buxton.
And all of the vendors that were at Tuesday’s market said they will be
back every week—with an even bigger selection and wider variety of
products than they brought this past week.
And there was some great stuff this week.
Roger Forrest and his son Darin Seamon of Acre Angus Beef Farm brought
their selection of all-natural, grass-fed beef. Forrest and
family raise all the cattle on their family farm in Plymouth, and they
sell their products at farmers’ markets all over the eastern part of
“I’ve raised cows since I was in 4-H 50 years ago,” said Forrest, who
is retired from the N.C. Department of Transportation Ferry Division.
On his table was an album with pictures of his family, their farm, and
their cows, and there was something very comforting about being able to
see where the food was coming from and shake the hand of the farmer who
had raised it.
Sophie Benewitz, Cappie Reve, and Corky Rattliff came down from the
Weeping Radish farm/brewery/butchery in Jarvisburg, N.C., and brought
with them a selection of all-natural pork and beef products that had
been handcrafted by their in-house German Master Butcher, Frank Meusel,
who has more than 30 years of experience in the field.
The Weeping Radish works directly with small farmers across the state,
and though they don’t raise the animals themselves, they aren’t very
far removed from the process. They work directly with small, local
farms and purchase whole animals that they then break down on the
“We can always tell you the farm of origin,” Benewitz says of
She said they would be back every week, not only with a bigger
selection of meats, but also with their famous root beer.
There was also a wide selection of fresh, local organic produce
Owner-grower Susie Harris of OBX Organics in Englehard, N.C., and
Nicole Spruill of Coastal Farmers in Currituck each brought with them
an inviting selection of organic produce, including tomatoes,
cucumbers, squash, peppers, and onions, garlic, and more.
Spruill also brought with her several dozen eggs from different breeds
of free-range chickens, and a selection of local, hand-picked fruits
and berries from other nearby farms. “What I’m not growing, we’re
finding somewhere close.”
Both growers said they would return each week, with a fresh-picked
selection of whatever is ripe at the time, and Harris said her farm is
working on getting a CSA together, so that, in the future, islanders
can sign up to get fresh produce year-round.
And any islanders who grow, bake, or preserve food are encouraged to
get a table. At Tuesday’s market, there was a table where
locals sold eggs from their chickens. According to Marcia
who is on the Coastal Harvesters board and who also brought a few dozen
eggs to sell, there were three locals who contributed a combined 15
dozen eggs, and well before the market was closed, every single egg had
Brian and Antoinette Mattingly were also there, offering their popular
Hatteras Cat pet food, as well as a selection of Antoinette’s pottery,
and Amanda Tucker had a tent for her Sew New Again line of upcycled
pillowcases and tablecloths.
The Hatteras Island Farmers’ Market will no doubt become a great
resource for residents and guests alike, which is exactly what Coastal
Harvesters, Inc. founder and president Joanne Throne wants.
“We want the whole island to have fresh vegetables and, eventually,
fresh seafood,” she said.
Currently, Dare County Board of Public Health regulations prevent the
sale of seafood at Dare County farmers’ markets. Oddly, Dare County is
one of, if not the only, county that doesn’t allow the sale of seafood
at farmers’ markets, even though it has one of the highest seafood
landing rates in the state.
Throne and Coastal Harvesters, Inc., are out to change those
regulations, and they, along with Susan West of Hatteras Connection,
and a handful of other community members have contacted Chairman Steve
Evans about loosening those regulations so that local watermen could
also participate in the Hatteras Island Farmers’ Market.
Until then, residents and visitors in search of local seafood will have
to stick to the fish markets.
When it comes to fresh local produce, islanders and guests have another
option—The Sticky Bottom Produce Company, located in Hatteras village,
right across the street from Lee Robinson General Store.
The small, open-air building houses a wide selection of fruits,
vegetables, and preserved foods, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7
During the week, the stand is manned by Currituck farmer Gary
Tranquillo loads his truck with fresh stuff and drives down to Hatteras
every weekday morning to unload the food and operate the market. Almost
everything The Sticky Bottom Produce Company sells is locally sourced.
Tranquillo grows some of the produce himself and said that what he
doesn’t grow, he gets from his neighbors.
“It’s not easy,” Tranquillo says of the farming, the daily commute, and
the heat, “but everybody seems to be happy.”
The 2010 Hatteras Island Farmers Market will run weekly on Tuesdays at
Burrus Field in Buxton (Babe Ruth baseball field across from Captain's
Table restaurant) from June 29 through Aug. 31. If you are interested
in being a vendor, please read the policy manual and fill out the
application, both available at www.coastalharvesters.org.
The group wants anyone in the community who grows, bakes or preserves
food to participate.
General membership is available for a one-time $25 fee. Please print
and fill out the application form, available at
www.coastalharvesters.org and send it along with your check to Coastal
Harvesters, Inc., P.O. Box 906, Buxton, NC 27920.
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