just minutes after the rain stops and the thunder fades away, vehicles
begin pulling into the parking lots of the pier and the neighboring
Koru Beach Klub and a crowd of people head to the outdoor farmer's
market that’s on full display next to Highway 12.
few of the vendors have already packed up and left -- as metal tent
stands and lightning traditionally don’t mix – but the brave artists,
produce suppliers, jewelers, and other craftsmen who stuck around are
enjoying a sudden rush of interest as visitors sift through merchandise
and pause to ask questions or just chat.
a typical scene in this corner of Avon on a Tuesday morning – minus the
thunderstorms – as the Avon Farmer's Market is steadily becoming the
place to check out local artists, pick up some fresh produce, and meet
and greet with local friends.
Spruill runs the Coastal Farmers Cooperative stand – one of two produce
stands on this particular Tuesday and arguably one of the most popular
stalls at the outdoor market. Customers line up along the long row of
tables, eyeing heirloom tomatoes, fresh blueberries and raspberries,
ears of corn, and fat purple eggplants. It’s a colorful display to be
sure, and it’s a miniature veggie-lover’s paradise, as evident by the
crowds of people grabbing armfuls of goodies before the rain
potentially starts up again.
and the Coastal Farmers Co-op, which was founded in 2009, has been
involved in the farmer's market since the beginning, when the idea was
launched by Joanne Throne, the then-president of the Coastal
Harvesters. The inaugural seasonal market hopped from venue to venue
before finding a permanent home in front of Hatteras Realty in Avon,
and recently, in front of the Koru Beach Klub.
And in a few years’ time, the market has noticeably grown.
visitors now look forward to making a market trip part of their weekly
vacation for hand-crafted souvenirs, while locals appreciate the
opportunity to pick up some local produce, while avoiding the
business has really picked up a lot this year,” says Nicole. “All of
the vendors seem to be happy, and the locals and customers are really
appreciative of the fresh food, and the variety.
know that it’s here,” adds Nicole, explaining the popularity. “And once
that’s in the bag, people will keep coming back.”
current farmer's market truly is an impressive mix of vendors,
showcasing a wealth of local talents. From locally sourced sea salt, to
homemade lotions, to local authors, the sheer diversity of what’s
available easily turns a quick visit for produce into a long
will recognize some of their favorite artists on display – such as Kim
Mosher – and will also have an opportunity to discover some unique
talents that are up-and-comers on the Outer Banks scene.
business is entrepreneurship,” says Spruill. “We’re promoting the
development of people who can try out their product, and share it with
as a result, the Avon Farmer's Market is the perfect venue for
craftsmen, artists, and vendors with a talent and a product to share,
but who don’t necessarily have a storefront.
Hesketh of Kenzie’s Keepers in Frisco has been a fixture at the Avon
Farmer's Market for four years. She specializes in jewelry and
accessories with a decidedly chic Boho feel and a little local color,
courtesy of homegrown pieces of washed-up sea glass. With a combination
of macramé, leather, and local treasures, the sleek necklaces and cool
barefoot sandals are popular with trendy shoppers.
“I enjoy making the jewelry itself – I like walking the beach and gathering up the pieces,” she says.
her works are featured at several galleries around the island, she says
that the weekly farmer's market is one of her favorite aspects of her
love talking to people, and explaining the jewelry as well as the story
behind the sea glass itself,” she says. “I do this because it’s fun
more than anything else.”
Weeks of 305 West Designs has a nearby stall that’s stocked with
beautifully intricate wood-based artworks, and some especially clever
pieces like stacks of enlarged “Scrabble Letters” that can be combined
to create just about anything – from a "beachy" phrase, to a last name.
Today, a row of the finely crafted letters have been lined up to spell
out the word “Avon.”
is Weeks' first year at the farmers market, and though she’s based in
Kill Devil Hills, she heard about the market opportunity from a friend
in Salvo, and was happy to come aboard.
been a great experience,” she says. “I love meeting people from other
parts of the country, and I love meeting other artists from the Outer
Banks. Everyone here is so friendly and helpful.”
“And I love being outside,” she adds, laughing. “Even when it’s rainy, or hot, or both! – like today!”
it turns out, the “local” vendors come from all areas of the Outer
Banks, and not just from Hatteras Island. Kenny Jones lives in Kitty
Hawk, but his stunning bird houses – which are hard to miss due to
their colorful facades that stand out in the crowd – have a decidedly
cut driftwood down from the sound [for the perch / outside décor], use
metal from old barns in Chesapeake and Moyock for the roofs, and use
old decking boards for the wood [frames],” he explains. “…This is my
income, and I really enjoy it.”
local artists take up the bulk of the market to be sure, but the
produce stands always seem to be popular stops for market visitors of
while the produce is locally grown whenever possible, often it’s
sourced from neighboring and slightly inland areas, such as Currituck
Wray is the other produce vendor at the market that rainy Tuesday
morning, and he also has his hands full with a line of people who want
to pick up some fresh peaches, corn, or a plump watermelon or two. Wray
is from Rodanthe, and also has a farmer's stand in the tri-villages in
addition to his weekly market stall.
“Most of our produce comes from local farms,” he says, “although sometimes we’ll get produce from other areas.”
like all the other vendors at the farmers market, one of the biggest
draws for Wray – besides the opportunity to get his goods out to a new
wave of people – is the one-on-one interactions.
been at the Avon Farmer's Market for about seven years, and I like
meeting the people at the stand,” he says. “And they come back, year
clearly evident that all the market vendors enjoy talking to people,
answering questions, and explaining the story behind a particular
artwork or technique. On this particular Tuesday, everyone is engrossed
in conversations that last a few seconds or a full 15 minutes, as new
people pop in to see what’s on display.
rain clouds seem to have officially parted, and the sunny skies have
brought out a last-minute crowd of folks who want to browse or pick up
some local goodies before the market officially closes at 1 p.m.
while the farmer's market is noticeably bigger than previous years –
even on this particular Tuesday where the rain temporarily halted the
action – Spruill says that there is always room for growth.
is what keeps the market going, and vendors are what keeps people
flowing in,” she explains. “No matter how big or how small, we’re
always looking for vendors. Local artists, backyard gardeners –
everyone is welcome. It’s an open door.”
In fact, vendors are still being accepted for the 2016 summer season, which officially ends on August 30.
the meantime, the market’s perpetual popularity with visitors and
locals alike suggests that the Avon Farmer's Market is here to stay – a
welcome fact for shoppers who adore local art, local produce, and a
chance to indulge in a little shopping without ever leaving the Avon
think it’s important to the community to keep this alive,” says Nicole,
“and we’re always looking for vendors [and new customers] to keep it
HOW TO JOIN IN THE FUN
Avon Farmers Market is held every Tuesday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. in
front of the Beach Klub in the center of Avon. Everyone is welcome.
Vendors who want to participate for the remainder of the 2016 season can fill out an application at https://docs.google.com/a/lsi.biz/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdj_1yPe9h5GlA3zN7xFgaBvR9_-l1DQ1QXXoK0w0pWRYE39g/viewform.