Catawba Valley Farmers Market continues to grow

Ann G. Harrell
Contributing writer

Photos by Ann G. Harrell
Frankie Garman (in bibs, with back to camera) describing his grass-fed beef products to a visiting family.

The Catawba Valley Farmers Market (CVFM) began the eighth year of operation on May 11 with 14 local vendors on hand. Two additional vendors recently joined the roster.

Current vendors include: Steve and Pam Hall of Hall’s Gardens in Catawba, with produce, fruits, granola, honey, and handmade baskets; Frankie and Louise Garman of Walnut Hill Farm in Catawba, with grass-fed beef, pork sausage and natural smoked bacon; Ann Harrell of Creekside Creations, Craig County, has barnwood-framed photos and note cards; Dean and Laura Bower, of Hillside Plants and Produce near Fincastle, have produce, fruits, flower and vegetable plants, hanging baskets (in the Spring), plus potted mums, pumpkins and decorative gourds in late summer/fall.

Alice Ricucci of Bear Tree Farm in Catawba is one of the crafters and bakers. She brings quilts and fabric crafts, vegetables, eggs, cookies, pies, breads and cakes, as well as some woodcrafts. Cassondra of Heavenly Butterfly Kisses Boutique in Craig County sells sugar scrubs as well as soaps and lotions made from milk from the family’s goats. She also offers cold bottled water. Tracy Gregory from Johnson Ridge Farm, between Catawba and Blacksburg, has jams, jellies, pickles, eggs and fried pies (sometimes made from scratch on the spot).

Joy Carter of Salem sells scented candles, votives and other decorative candles. Meg Hibbert, also of Salem known as The Cookie Lady, has returned as a vendor with cookies, sourdough rolls, scones, pickled garlic, catnip and catnip sox for cats. Rebecca McKeever of McKeever Pottery in Vinton, sells decorative and functional pottery, shawl pins, buttons and jewelry. Salem natives Paul and Kathy Comer are part-time vendors at CVFM. Paul sells woodcrafts including wood and acrylic pens and pen stands, wooden bowls, vases, clocks and mirrors.

Lindsey Sowers and her mother, Kristy Sowers, of Flower Haven in Roanoke, often bring flower arrangements, plants, hanging baskets, produce and laundry soap. Emily Waddell of Rainbow Rock Soap Company in Check brings artisan soaps, scrubs and bath bombs to the market.

Carl Absher is another vendor from the Blacksburg area. He brings native wildflowers, vegetables, annual and perennial plants, plus birdhouses, indoor weather stations, walking sticks and other crafts made from reclaimed wood, including American chestnut. Carl plans to have native shrubs and trees ready for the market this fall. One of the newest vendors is Laura Garman of The Valley Lettering Co. from Catawba. She has hand-painted/lettered canvases, note cards, plates and card stock. The newest vendor is Liz Spellman of Blacksburg, bringing garlic scapes, kale, arugula, greens, radishes and bok choy on June 15.

As the growing season progresses, the list of vegetables and fruits will change. Vendors recently added squash, zucchini, snow peas and red potatoes to their tables. Tomatoes should be coming within the next week or two.

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Market vendors accept SNAP/EBT payments and double customers’ money for purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables – in other words, those who pay up to $30.00 can buy up to $60.00 worth of fresh vegetables and fruits. Check with the Market Manager for any questions. Debit cards are accepted and some individual vendors accept credit/debit card payments.

A representative of the Virginia Cooperative Extension is at CVFM each week, offering a taste of a nutritious dish prepared using ingredients available at the market. Recipes, calendars and other freebies are also offered.

Musical entertainment, book signings, educational displays and freebies are added features at Catawba Valley Farmers Market. Marya Katz will be back on June 22 with her dulcimer. Jim Robinson will return on July 13 to offer music from his dulcimer, and Bruce and Elaine Ingram will return on July 20 to sign copies of his book, Living the Locavore Lifestyle. The Ingram’s will share information on how to be more self-reliant while enjoying fresh and nutritious foods.

To celebrate Father’s Day, on June 15 between 5:00 and 6:30 p.m. (or as long as the supply lasts), visitors to the market will be offered a free hot dog, with homemade chili. Samples of a vegetable pasta salad will be offered by VA Cooperative Extension. Tasty baked goods will be available for purchase.

The Catawba Valley Farmers Market is open each Thursday from 3:30 to 7:00 p.m., rain or shine, at the Catawba Community Center, 4965 Catawba Creek Road, in Catawba. This location is handicap accessible, has a playground, restrooms and free parking. Up-to-date information on the CVFM, including a weekly newsletter, may be seen on Facebook at Catawba Valley Farmers’ Market. For more information, contact Ann G. Harrell, Market Manager, at 540.864.5913 or

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