Archive for Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Farmers’ Market flourishes

Fresh produce packs ‘em in

July 25, 2001

Shortly after 7 a.m. Joanna Vesecky's table is already covered with an array of tomatoes, cantaloupe, peppers, zucchini and ears of corn.

She stands behind her display wearing a ball cap and sunglasses, waiting to greet people, as well as the heat of the morning.

Vesecky's table is soon flanked by others also covered with fruits and vegetables, as well as baked goods, flowers and homemade soaps.

The scene is the same every Saturday morning. By 8 a.m., the entire length of the sidewalk next to the post office on High Street has been transformed into the Baldwin City Farmers' Market.

Many people, whether on their way to the post office, out for an early morning walk or just driving by, stop to look over, and often purchase, the produce.

"We do have our faithful, loyal people that come by every Saturday," Vesecky said. "People are always looking for homegrown stuff."

Most of the tables are set up between 7 and 8 a.m. and are gone by noon.

While some vendors, like Vesecky, have been selling produce all summer, others have just begun.

"I just started doing this last Saturday," Lou Barrett said. "The reason is because I've got more produce than I can eat."

Barrett said she was surprised at how early people were ready to purchase her produce.

"I got here at 7:15 and I was selling them before I got out of the car," she said. "They were waiting for me."

She said she enjoyed spending her Saturday mornings at the farmers' market.

"It's fun," Barrett said. "There's nothing like getting paid for having fun.

"And if somebody sees something of mine they like and they want to buy it, it's a good feeling," she said.

Baldwin resident Linda Ellis said she makes sure she visits the market every Saturday to buy cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers.

"I like fresh produce," Ellis said. "Once I discovered this was here, I was here every time."

Not everyone that visits or sells produce at the market is from Baldwin.

Instead of selling at the Lawrence Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings, Wendy Dalquest makes the trip to Baldwin to sell her goat milk soap.

"Baldwin's a nice, small town and the people are real friendly," Dalquest said.

"We've met so many people down here," she said. "You look forward to it starting up the next year. I enjoy that."

Dalquest said she's also had a lot of people that were not from Baldwin stop at the market.

"A lot of people come to the market on the way to Midland Railroad," she said. "Usually they'll have to wait a little bit, so they'll come here."

For those residents who decide at the last minute they want ears of corn or some tomatoes for a weeknight dinner, there are a few vendors who sell their produce during the week.

Vesecky said she's next to post office Tuesday through Saturday mornings.

"I'm here unless it gets too hot or I sell out," she said. "Then I high tail it out of here."

Occasionally, Vesecky is joined by others during the week, but the big produce day remains on Saturdays.

Vesecky said having a local farmers' market is convenient for Baldwin residents.

"You don't have to drive all the way to Lawrence or Kansas City to get fresh produce," she said.

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