Culture from the likes of Banner Elk’s Ensemble Stage and the BE Artists Gallery create well-rounded and intelligent individuals. Wonderful, in and of itself!
Also available at the Historic Banner Elk School, however, are cucumbers—which create pickles! Together with fresh-from-the-farm fruits and vegetables of all shapes and sizes, health conscious foodies have local inspiration to achieve less “well-rounded” characteristics!
The farm market that sets up summer Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. in front of the old school provides lettuces, tomatoes, squashes, beans, beets—everything in season. Eggs, plants, soap, crafts, baked goods—and a vast array of salsas, jams, jellies and juices all appear.
The market first began some 10 years ago, and saw a high of 22 different vendors last summer. According to Banner Elk’s Bonita Smith, 13 vendors have added to the festivities so far this year. Many vendors attend other markets in addition to the Banner Elk site, but Smith Family Farms stays only in Banner Elk, she said.
Having a state certified kitchen permits Smith to make and sell breads, cakes, jams and her trademark salsa varieties. According to Smith, the farm market is similar to her church—“all are welcome!” She hopes to see the local offerings expand and diversify.
Waightstill Avery of Avery Farms has been selling his vegetables and produce for five years. In a matter of week, his popular blackberries and raspberries will be ready to transport from Plumtree to Banner Elk. Avery Farms also carries a variety of ciders, salad dressings and flavored syrups.
The market is overseen by its own board of directors, who assure adherence to health regulations. Charges to vendors include a $10 per week fee, or $100 for the entire summer season.
Photos by Jim Swinkola