Fresh eggs, bright gladiolas, locally grown olive oil, baked goods, handmade wooden furniture and hand picked produce are just some of the items that welcomed me as I walked around opening night of the downtown Arbuckle Farmers Market last Wednesday. As vendors proudly set up booths and friends gathered, I was reminded of the many gifts of growing up and working in a small farm-based community.
Started eight years ago by the Arbuckle Revitalization Committee, the market was formed to give local vendors a place to showcase their products and somewhere for friends and family to gather. With 18 vendors at the peak of the season and 10-12 vendors consistently selling goods, the market has continued to grow in popularity.
As I have frequented the market since it first started and sold peaches there for many years, it’s clear that people love looking at and buying the many great products, but most are drawn there for the people.
“The market brings people together and is very supported,” said Mary Fahey the market’s manager. “People come regularly and everyone knows each other.”
Arbuckle resident Don Rauch told me he comes so often that the vendors know exactly what he buys. As he pointed to his bouquet of gladiolas he said, “these flowers are going to be in the district office and the bank tomorrow.“
When I further inquired about the gladiolas, I learned that local gardener Fred Durst and his family started the group Grimes Gladiolas as a way to give their homegrown gladiolas away at the market and simply ask for a donation to the Arbuckle Revitalization Committee.
The charm of the market may have best been displayed in the smile of 10-year old Leah Charter, a new vendor at the market who sells her hand painted rocks for 25 cents. Her rocks sold so quickly that she was already making plans to paint more for the following week.