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Rousing start to new Farmers Market season

The Lincoln County Farmers Market, 250 W. Water St., opened its season 7 a.m. Saturday with honey, baked goods, plants and produce.
Only a few vendors were set up Saturday, but they saw a steady stream of customers.
“We’re just about sold out,” said Diane Hawkins, owner of Diane’s Bakery.
She and her sister, Lori Hawkins, sold poundcakes, yeast rolls, sweetbreads and the like.
Plants, however, were the primary item for sale, among them ferns, herbs and flowers. Also being vended were vegetables such as tomatoes to purple peppers.
“I’ve seen a lot of people try it, and the tears run down the cheeks when they eat it,” said Lewis Leatherman of what happens when the purple peppers mature and turn red.
Leatherman has sold at the market for years. He makes a little money from it, but that’s not the main point.
“It gives me something to,” he said. “I meet a lot of people.”
He enjoys chatting with customers, sharing his knowledge of plants that comes from his experience as a farmer and greenhouse gardener.
“I enjoy plants. I enjoy growing them,” he said. “It gets in your blood more or less, and if it does, it never gets out.”
Mickey Robinson of Vale shares Leatherman’s love for plants, if not his expertise.
“I love plants, even if they die,” she said.
She grows her own asparagus, but still comes to the market to buy extra. She likes the fresh vegetables and the people.
“It’s great,” she said of the market. “I wish it would expand. I think it’s good for the county to have it.”
Fred Powell regularly brings his family.
“We like to buy from small farm-type people,” he said. “It’s more personable and the quality’s better.”
His 6-year-old daughter agrees.
“We like to come here all the time and see all the flowers and the vegetables,” said Sophie Powell.
Loyal customers like Powell made for a decent first day.
“For opening day, it’s been pretty good,” said Lloyd Lewis of Lewis Farms.

Want to go?
The market is located at 250 W. Water St. in downtown Lincolnton. For now, the Lincolnton market is only open on Saturdays, but in early June it will also open Tuesday and Thursday mornings. It begins at 7 a.m. and lasts until sell-out. In May, the market will also open a Denver location.
by Sarah Grano

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