Front Street farmers market open

MICHAEL KELLY The Marietta Times Paula Armstrong, left, of Lowell and Dorothy Moser of Devola talk to Chris West of Tortoise Shell Cat Glass & Crafts as West shows them a work of stained glass art on sale at her vendor’s booth on the first day of the season for The Farmers Market on Front Street on the lawn of the Armory Tuesday.

By noon, all the fresh strawberries were sold.

Lara Shepherd, who lives in Waverly, W. Va., came to Marietta on Tuesday with the opening of the Farmers Market on Front Street in mind. Pushing her children Silas, 3, and Judah, 5 months, in a double stroller through the sunshine, she cried out in disappointment when Bill Stacy at the Stacy Family Farm booth told her there were no strawberries left.

“I like to come to Marietta, and I like the fresh produce you can get at this market,” she said. “They have lots of crafts, you can take a walk on Front Street, and it’s just nice to get out.”

She made her way over to the Fagan’s Farm booth, nearly hidden behind hanging baskets and planters full of fresh flowers. Kate Fagan, from Lower Salem, said the farm takes a booth every year for the summer at the market, offering flowers, meat, eggs and produce. The first day had been worthwhile, she said.

“It’s been a steady, meandering flow of people,” she said.

Cristie Thomas, executive director of Marietta Main Street, stood under a canopy behind a table covered with Main Street merchandise ranging from posters to T-shirts. The market opened at 10 a.m. Consulting her hand-held click counter at 12:30 p.m., she said 281 people had come through the market to check out what the dozen or so vendors had for sale, relax a bit and perhaps get something to eat from the Busy Bee food truck.

The market, which operates on the Armory lawn at 241 Front St., is in its third year.

“It’s early in the season, and there are flowers and handicrafts,” Thomas said. As the summer moves along, more vendors with fresh fruit and vegetables will move in, and at season’s peak the market will have as many as 30 stalls, she said.

“It’s in the heart of downtown, and people come here and make a day out of it,” she said.

Loren Henthorne and her friend Casey Cline sat on a green iron bench by Front Street eating lunch from the food truck.

“I’m really excited about seeing more veggies and stuff come in, but it’s nice here,” Henthorne said.

That should be coming soon. Bill Stacy, whose booth displayed fresh cucumbers left after the morning run on his strawberries, said he expects to have more strawberries next week and for weeks after that, with blueberries, tomatoes and more to come.

“We’ll be here every week,” he said. “We support downtown Marietta, we like to be a part of it.”

Luke Zacharias, a 4-year-old Veritas Academy student, was at the Washington County Health Department booth hefting a hand weight while his mother, Erin Zacharias, looked over the free cold drink cups, being offered as encouragement for healthy hydration.

“We’re off school, and I came down to try to find something to take home, maybe put on the grill,” she said.

Ashton Wisenbarger, a health department intern, said she’ll be running the booth all summer.

“The cups, those are for our Water First campaign, we’ve got a cookbook with healthy recipes for eating on $4 a day, a community resource guide,” she said.

The sun was beginning to get intense just after noon and the booth didn’t have a canopy but she wasn’t concerned.

“I’m a lifeguard, I’m used to it,” she said.

The market runs from now through Aug. 21, every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m..

If you go

¯ What: Farmers Market on Front Street.

¯ Includes: Produce, flowers, craft items, food truck, and other vendors and displays.

¯ Where: Lawn of the Armory, 215 Front St.

¯ When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday through Aug. 21.