By Keith Whitson
Have you been yet? It’s one of the greatest things to come to town in awhile.
I am talking about the Erwin Farmers’ Market held every Tuesday in the courthouse parking lot across from Plant Palace. The market is open from 5 to 8 p.m.
As I write this column, I have been the first two weeks. As you are reading this I feel certain I have now made it to week three. I would like for you to mark your calendar for next Tuesday and be sure to check it out for yourself.
The space is just the right size to offer variety and still yet have hometown charm and friendliness. The variety of vendors truly impressed me.
Not only is there regular produce such as gorgeous green beans, tender ears of corn, and juicy, ripe tomatoes, but they have much, much more. I saw flawless green lettuces, herbs, Swiss chard and even collard greens.
Do you want some tomatoes? Good luck deciding which variety. There are multiple shapes, sizes, colors and tastes. I love seeing a variety when it comes to vegetables and am usually drawn to the unusual which I haven’t tried before.
When someone else grows it and offers it at a market, it is my chance to sample. I might even find something I like so much that I will want to grow it next year or search for it in stores when the market season is over.
So you don’t need vegetables? This market still has plenty to offer. There are a variety of booths selling everything from jewelry to soap to wood crafts.
While you are at the market, you might like to check out a vendor selling some top quality beef and pork which has been packaged, frozen and ready to take home for a summer grilling.
One of my favorite vendors makes brick oven baked pizzas right there on the spot. They sell them by the slice or an entire pizza to go. You can watch the process before your eyes and watch as each mouth watering creation comes out of the portable brick oven.
They offer the standards like cheese and pepperoni, but they also do some amazing combinations. You can tell that these guys have made many pizzas and experimented with a lot of unique ideas to come up with their weekly specials. Last time I had a slice with jerk chicken, pineapple, aioli sauce and a few other ingredients. I would never have thought to put the items together, but it was a wonderful combination.
Is there anything else that could make this farmer’s market a better experience? How about some foot stomping bluegrass music? Coordinators of the event have showcased some wonderful talent, including the Unicoi County High School Bluegrass Band.
So, come on by and stroll around, listen to some bludgrass music and visit with friends. Check out the vegetables, the crafts, the meats and, don’t forget, the pizza. This is a terrific addition to our town. Let’s support it. Coordinators have given local vendors an outlet to sell as well as offer citizens a wonderful opportunity.