Farmer’s Market enjoying surge in popularity

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 17, 2005

Numerous local merchants offering produce, along with other items as varied as snow cones, seafood, and massage therapy were out Saturday morning for another Suffolk Farmer’s Market.

Among those out in the bright sunshine, and relatively cool morning temperature, was Ralph Arce, selling breads, muffins, and other fresh, made-from-scratch baked goods.

Arce is owner of The Real Breadshop, a Virginia Beach company that uses no additives, preservatives, or sugars in its breads.

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Speaking about the growing success and publicity of the Farmer’s Market in downtown, Arce said, &uot;It’s amazing, even though we say we’ll be here at nine o’clock, but people are out here at 8 and 8:30 waiting to see what’ll be out here.&uot;

&uot;I see it growing every week,&uot; said Arce, &uot;They’re hearing about it on WNIS…it’s really bringing customers out.&uot;

Speaking about his own wares, Arce said, &uot;we make our bread strictly from scratch.

We mill our own grains right on the premises.&uot;

The same methods, but with different products, were echoed by Priscilla Hedgepeth, who along with husband Jim, are co-owners and co-growers of Hedgepeth Farms in Conway, NC.

Jim and Priscilla are at the Farmer’s Market every Saturday.

Priscilla said, &uot;We grow everything you see here except the peaches and sweet watermelons.

A lot of hard work goes into this.&uot;

That &uot;everything&uot; includes a wide variety of roughly 20 types of fruits and vegetables.

Chances are very good Ralph Arce and Jim and Priscilla Hedgepeth will be at the market and open for business at next week’s Farmer’s Market on Main Street next to the train station.