Friday, July 15, 2011

The Farmers Market of Bath County

I love going to farmers markets.

Not just for the beautiful produce, fresh cut flowers, freshly baked bread, 
     but, for the interesting people . . . . . .  their faces, and their stories.

I recently spent some time in Bath County, in the Allegheny Mountains of Virginia.

We arrived Friday evening - me, my friend, Gert, and my dog, Charlie,
     and I was thrilled to find out there would be a farmers market the following morning.

Coffee Pot Cabin
We awoke to a beautiful day . . . . . .  just waiting for us to live.

Strapped the leash on Charlie, strapped the camera to my shoulder,
     and stepped outside of Coffee Pot Cabin - our home away from home, for the next two days.

The farmers market was in the middle of the small, one-street town,
     inhabiting the gravel-covered parking lot, with a good amount of vendors,
but not so many that one could not take it all in.

I like to stroll around, casually, and look at everything once,  before making a second loop.
During this time, I am in my element, taking photos at my leisure, when the opportunities arise.

One gentleman asked if he should pose for me.

I think I caught him off guard when I pointed my camera in his direction,
     and said,

"Washington Post Guy"

Slightly flattered and slightly embarrassed,
     he commented that I must be a photographer for The Washington Post.

I just smiled and said,

     "You think so?"  . .  . . . not letting on, either way.

Let him wonder, I thought.

Besides, I liked the sound of that. 

Moving on, I had an interesting conversation with Catherine, who makes
     jewelry and hair accessories out of recycled cans and bottle caps.

"TrashionFashion", she calls it.

LOVE the name! 

Catherine stumbled onto the idea of making fashion out of trash, when she was writing her
      thesis for her doctorate degree.

She now travels all over, collecting unique "trash", meeting a lot of fascinating people, along the way.

Recycling seemed to be a popular theme amongst the vendors,
     as one of the local farmers, Bruce, and his daughter, Bryanna,
was selling beautiful, fresh cut flowers
     arranged in recycled Mountain Dew bottles.

I will keep this idea in mind, the next time I need a vase.  

Past the flowers, the vegetables, and the recycled trash, were some alpacas,
     which Charlie had just taken notice of, so we made our way over to meet them.     

The alpacas - two of them (one white, one brown), were very curious about Charlie.

Magnificent looking animals - extremely alert and intelligent,
     and there is a certain peace that you feel when you are in their presence.

Vanessa is the manager of the alpaca ranch, and she had on display
     some of the most luxurious and soft teddy bears and hand puppets
that I have ever laid my eyes on, as well as various clothing items
     - all made from the Alpaca fur, which, by the way,  is


After spending time with Vanessa and the alpacas, I now want to have my own alpaca farm.

If I ever do own an alpaca farm, however,
     Vanessa told me that I'd better have a llama on my property, as well.

The biggest predator of farm animals, in that area, is the coyote.

Apparently, llamas are extremely protective, and will stomp to death anything that comes into its path.

After saying good-bye to Vanessa and her alpacas,
     hunger was beginning to set in,
so we paid a visit to the only food vendor of the day -

Puff's BBQ.

I had a country ham sandwich and Gert had beef brisket. 

Smoked meat on a bun - simple and GOOD.

As we ate, we listened to live country and blue grass music,
     provided by a guitar strumm'n, banjo pick'n, fiddle fiddl'n couple,
who go by the name of 

" Bettr'n Nothn' ". 

Again . . . . . . LOVE the name. 

They would tell small stories, in between their songs,
     and I don't know if they were meant to be funny,
but they were reminiscent of Garrison Keillor. 

As a kid, I remember listening to "Prairie Home Companion" on many a road trip,
     from the back seat of the car.

Speaking of which, after several hours and several purchases at the market,
     it was time for us to hit the road. 

As we drove away, the one-street town grew smaller in the rear view mirror,
     and the sounds of " Bettr'n Nothn' " grew more faint,
but we carried with us some fond new memories.

And, sitting on the back seat of the car,
     was a brown paper bag full of farm fresh veggies
that would make a delicious meal, later that night,
     to be enjoyed on the small porch
of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Coffee Pot Cabin.  

                            A day worth living, indeed.  





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