Rita Howell Column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rita Howell

Farmers Market entices shopper for weekly visit

The Farmers Market is the place to be on Wednesday afternoon in Batesville. Even if it’s 104 degrees, like last Wednesday. I have not missed a Farmers Market since it opened on June 30. Local grocers, including the one which advertises so faithfully with us every Tuesday, need not fear that they are missing sales. I’m just buying more food, just as much as ever from the supermarket, and the added bonus of fresh regional produce from the Wednesday vendors.

Every Wednesday I take a green tote bag with me to work in anticipation of the afternoon shopping excursion on the Square.

What treasures I have found: corn, tomatoes, blueberries, blueberry jam, blackberry jam, Italian bread, wheat bread, banana peppers and peas. Already shelled peas.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Last week I bought a tray of green bell peppers for $1. The vendor was almost apologetic because the peppers were so small. But that’s how I like them. The skin was tender. What a bargain.

I have cooled off with fresh mint tea, frozen citrus punch, and, last week, when the temperature was reaching the aforementioned triple digits Wednesday afternoon, I had an Italian ice, made by Mrs. Richardson with fresh strawberries and lots of sugar. It was $3 well-spent.

So far I have not tried the fried pies, but there are several vendors who offer them and I have it on good authority that all are delicious. My friend especially recommended the chocolate ones.

I have purchased a vidalia onion relish and a homemade salsa. So far I have bypassed the fudge, the lye soap and the tie-dyed dish towels. Not that I have anything against those items. I have considered them all. There just wasn’t any more room in my green tote bag.

Many years ago, when I was a small child, Saturday was a big shopping day on the Square. Before the Interstate came through and businesses migrated east, the Square was the center of commerce in our town. People made their weekly trip to town and found everything they needed on the Square. The merchants even stayed open late on Saturday night to accommodate their customers. And you could find locally grown produce around the bandstand, located about where the Memorial Park is now.

Fifty years later, it’s nice to see crowds gathered regularly on the Square again, at some time other than SpringFest and the Christmas parade.