WENDELL — Huge trees supply shade, the highly visible new location provides plenty of parking and vendors offer a variety of edibles and ornamentals.
The Wendell Farmer’s Market is up and running at the intersection of Wendell Boulevard and Pine Street, drawing a steady flow of shoppers and winning praise from early-season vendors who anticipate good Saturdays ahead.
“We had a great turnout. People are excited. It’s a good spot. We’re visible. I’m excited,” Wendell Chamber of Commerce board member Brandy Hunter, the volunteer director for the market, said on opening day, April 13.
The occasion was commemorated with a group photograph of vendors, town and chamber officials, volunteers and customers. Holding the big yellow bow and ribbon, Hunter thanked all who made the project happen.
“I started tearing up afterward,” she said moments later.
About the only glitch was one aspect of the market’s new electronic system that allows shoppers to use credit, debit or EBT Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cards. With the cards, customers purchase tokens to use like cash.
The credit and debit cards worked quickly and easily – “Just like at a store,” customer Jamie Smalley of Wendell said – but the EBT cards would not. Hunter said the problem, a missing code, would be corrected quickly. Federal grant money will provide an extra $5 token to shoppers who swipe EBT cards.
Katrina Holden, 35, and Eric Vines, 42, of Wendell showed their children, Tyler, 8, and Omar, 1½, the plants and checked out the baked goods. Tyler described the outing as “cool,” and he picked up a seed packet for green beans to grow at home.
“I like the process of things growing,” his mother said. “You start out with a seed before you see the beautiful thing at the end.”
Vines appreciated advice he gained from vendors including Wake County extension master gardener volunteer Sherry Urben, who handed out mailing packets for free garden soil testing.
“I like to do gardening and lawn car, and the information I learned here today is very helpful,” Vines said. “And it’s free – F-R-E-E!”
Free advice will be available each Saturday from a variety of vendors.
“That’s partly why we’re here – not just to sell but to teach,” said New York transplant Cathrine Evans of Wendell, who sold fresh eggs, lemon bars, brownies and herb plants at her Six Chicks and a Hound booth.
Donald and Edith Cooke of Cooke Family Farms on Poole Road gave away sweet potatoes and recipes and will start selling vegetables next month. Annette Dorman of Wendell and Lisa Fine of Clayton offered garden plants plus carry-all bags made from recycled pet food bags. Beth Hunter, whose son Josiah is married to Brandy Hunter, offered Aunt Bee’s Breads and Confections.
Wake County Schools retiree Rosetta May of Knightdale offered breads and handmade wreaths and said she looked forward to additional markets.
“It’s been a steady flow all morning. The location is wonderful,” she said.