Thanks to Old Beach Farmers Market (OBFM) co-founders, volunteers, vendors and patrons for a wonderful morning yesterday at the fall “Harvest Market.” I’ve never before been a vendor anywhere, much less at a Farmer’s Market, but what a rewarding experience!
Every Saturday in the summer and on middle Saturdays from October to December (see remaining dates below), the parking lot of Croc’s Eco Bistro is transformed into a delightful Farmers Market (and a couple of blocks away is a new Art Market and Green Market). OBFM is the 5-year old brainchild of Croc’s co-owner (with her husband Kal), Laura Habr, and her mother, Ann Wright, a well-known and beloved freelance writer in our area, with lots of help from a community of “locavores.” Laura, who is a mover and shaker in the Virginia Green movement and all things eco-friendly and sustainable in the Hampton Roads area, is one of the genuinely warmest and most humble people you will ever meet and is the first to credit a “team” of people with both the Market’s and the restaurant’s success.
The weather was absolutely perfect and any anxiety I had as a first-timer quickly melted away with Laura’s enthusiastic greeting and her pleasant and efficient set-up of a table and chairs she let me borrow. Since I am not a regular, I travel light. But, no tent, no table, no chairs? No problem! Within minutes, thanks to Laura and my good friend Sharon Tanner, a real estate broker, beekeeper and former director of CAC/MOCA’s Boardwalk Art Show, I had a respectable, if modest, display of Blooming Platter Cookbooks.
It wasn’t until Friday that my super-busy week allowed me to turn my intentions to my participation in OBFM. So, after school in a mild panic, I swooped into the bank for some $1 bills, zipped out to Stoney’s Market for pretty pumpkins (green, orange, and tri-colored), headed back to Party City for a sage green tablecloth, and finally ducked into the fabric store for some tobacco-colored burlap. Before dashing out the door on Saturday morning, I printed a couple of signs, loaded everything, including a case of cookbooks, into the car, and headed out. I guess if I was more experienced, I wouldn’t have forgotten my business cards!
In between the pleasure and privilege of chatting with and selling/signing books for friends who came a marketing, as well as delightful people I met for the first time–all with engaging stories (like the couple who had lost 180 pounds between them)–I enjoyed people- and pet- watching. This was a practiced market crowd and the colorful reusable market bags alone were a feast for the eyes, never mind the goodies inside like, say, adorable pink-eyed peas Who knew?
Even the family whose car I gently backed into when leaving (blind spot!) were lovely and generous. That’s a story for a different day, but the only damage to speak of–and it was minor–was to my car and, as luck would have it, someone had backed into it about a week ago, so the quarter panel is going to be replaced this week anyway! Talk about feeding two birds with one cracker…it really was a charmed day.
The word appears to be out that, even if you have never met a vegetable you liked, you can come to the market for some seriously delicious noshing to be enjoyed while browsing or sitting in a little cafe that Laura set-up next to the Croc’s booth. I had the honor of being positioned between it and the Peylon’s Baja Grill booth, so I enjoyed chatting with both Laura and Kal and an adorable gal from Peylon’s, all of whom generously sent me home with some of their wares to sample.
Croc’s brand of hummus is the best around. It’s balance of flavors it spot-on, which may have more than a little to do with Kal hailing originally from Lebanon. I loved chatting with him about Sunday dinners at his grandmother’s in the place of his birth.
And I’m a fan of Peylon’s because they offer, at their Norfolk location, vegan sour cream and cheese and make some delicious vegan “fish tacos.” So I was happy to be the recipient of some of their salsa and guacamole. If you haven’t tried their Pineapple-Habenero salsa, it has really beautiful color and flavor and a not-too-intense after-burn.
Thanks again, Laura, Ann, et al for the invitation to participate in OBFM and for the kind reception. You walk the green walk and talk the green talk in the most beautiful way.
OBFM Holiday Markets: Nov 19 and Dec 17, 20011, 9am -12pm, Croc’s Eco Bistro, 19th Street, VA Beach,VA