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O
riental’s Farmers’ Market has been happening along that stretch of Hodges Street since July 2007 when Christie Foster, Brenna Wilcox and Melinda Penkava began selling organic NC produce, home-baked bread, pesto and locally grown arugula.

Summer 2007 when the Farmers’ Market was a few weeks old. Three vendors grew to 4 and 5 and more. Here: Bob, Brenna, Christie, and Sandie.
The idea caught on. Sandie Beal joined the market shortly after, bringing the bounty from her Academy Street garden (as well as a wealth of experience growing crops out in the mountains of NC.) In time, more bakers and artisans became part of Oriental’s Saturday market. So did folks selling pecans, honey, plants, seafood, and locally laid eggs.

Customers came, too. Folks liked to have a place to buy this kind of food and goods. And, they constantly tell us, they like having that community gathering place, too.

While the market started out with intentions of providing certified organic produce from NC, there were some challenges in getting it to our end of the state economically. The market evolved and the emphasis shifted: the market would try its best to bring locally grown produce to customers. The vegetables and fruits and herbs come from the gardens around town, and farms within a 50 mile radius, such as the R’Gardens in New Bern.

The owners of the Wit’s End provide the space where the vendors set up every week. That, along with the customers and the growers, bakers and artisans, combine to make a little magic happen on Saturday mornings in Oriental.

A Previous Oriental Farmers’ Market

Oriental is home to Pamlico County’s first farmers’ market. Some may remember a previous Farmers’ Market in Oriental that took place behind the post office. At that market as at the current one, the emphasis was on local food, grown with little or no chemicals. Here are some photos from the Oriental Farmers’ Market in 2003:

Five Years Old And Counting

Our first market on Hodges started with just 3 vendors on July 14, 2007. To celebrate our 5th birthday the Oriental Farmers’ Marketraffled off two Baskets of Plenty made up of goods from the vendors — fresh produce, bouquets, jam, herbs, jewelry, soap, baked goods, pottery and iron works.

The winners were Wally Umbach of Oriental — who’s rarely missed a market since our start 5 years ago — and Bette Hooten of Florida who was visiting family in the area.

Congratulations to the winners.

A Sampling Of The Oriental Farmers’ Market In Those Baskets of Plenty…

Basket One:

Fresh bread and jar of jam from Sandie’s Academy Street Gardens – Eggs from Bob Lyons’ Old Cypress Farm – Jar of Bay Leaves and garlic from Blue Bottle Gardens – Fresh produce and cut flowers from Kim’s KD Gardens – Baked goodies from Pat’s BeeBee’s Best Kitchens – A loaf of Kip’s Kitchen bread – Soap from Mary Kathryn’s Red Robin Soaps – Quilled art ornament from Jan O’Leary – Booklet, “Oriental: Jewel By The River’s Edge” from the Oriental History Museum- – A baby pitcher from Candace Young’s Bay River Pottery – Earrings by Pat Elliott – Fused glass pendant from Dottie Miller – Shrub from John Hawes

Basket Two:

Fresh produce and cut flowers from Kim’s KD Gardens – Jam and baked goods from Sandie’s Academy Street Gardens – Eggs from Bob Lyons’ Old Cypress Farm – Baked goodies from Pat’s BeeBee’s Best Kitchens – A loaf of Kip’s Kitchen bread – A felted Dragon Egg soap from Nancy’s Soaps and Such – Quilled art ornament from Jan O’Leary – Fused glass pendant from Dottie Miller – Earrings made by Anni Frohlich of EcoPlanetArt – 50 Biodegradable garbage bags from Jayne Stasser of Pamlico Green – Old-fashioned fireplace metal hook for planters or bird feeders, from Oriental Ironworks – Shrub from John Hawes

Meanwhile, the raffle raised more than $225, and those proceeds are going to the Oriental History Museum.

Farmers' Market Hours

Winter Hours: Saturday's 9:00am - Noon

The Farmers' Market is on Hodges Street near the Harbor