By Pete Zamplas-The weekly Flat Rock Tailgate Market offers such unusual home-made products as herbal lotions, goat cheese spread and maple syrup from Vermont.
Sponsored by the Flat Rock Merchants Association, the summer market is 3-6 p.m. Thursdays through October. The site is the parking lot area behind Little Rainbow Row along U.S. 225 (formerly 25), just south of West Blue Ridge Road. Nearly a dozen vendors set up tents, in a shaded, wooded setting they said is relaxing.
“I like the fellowship,” said Rick Jordan, Deerwood Farm owner. He sells fresh and frozen meat at the market including lamb, from cornfed animals. Another merchant sells shrimp, others baked goods and crafts.
New merchants this year include Sherry Norris, of Vermontage. She sells maple syrup from her friend’s farm in Vermont, the top syrup-producing state. She appreciates the scenic, low-key atmosphere.
“I love this market,’ said Tammy Adkins of Sacred Mountain Herbals. Carlie Wagner likes the “relaxed yet lively vibe.” She sells Three Graces Dairy’s goat, sheep and cow cheese spreads flavored with herbs and even flower. Free samples are among market perks.
Customer Diane Hill of Flat Rock comes for fresh vegetables and meats, among treats.
Melinda Hill rings a bell, to start the market. The first of three hours is usually busiest. Her family’s Hill’s Farm Plants, Inc. is among chemical-free growers at the market, and features cut flowers, herbs and peppers. Apples are in season for venders, then pumpkins.
Paul and Simone Shoemaker’s Holly Spring Farm & Nursery sells 30 varieties of tomatoes. Paul said his crop is on higher ground escaping flooding of others’ tomatoes in the Mills River basin this rainy summer. He likes the retirees and other clients in Flat Rock, also Mills River’s Saturday morning farm market.
Check www.flatrockonline.com about the market, and Little Rainbow Row businesses.