The first fruits of spring — strawberries, squash, peppers, egg plants, tomatoes and new potatoes — along with homemade sweets, woodcrafts, local honey, fresh eggs, gourmet specialties and other treats were discovered by Hinesville residents at Thursday’s first spring market in Bradwell Park.
“This is a spring market, as opposed to the farmers market, which starts the first Thursday in May,” Hinesville Downtown Development Authority program assistant Katrina Sage said. “The spring market will be held inside Bradwell Park every Thursday, but when the farmers market opens in May, it’ll block off Commerce Street around Bradwell.”
More than a half-dozen vendors took part in the first spring market, offering a variety of fresh produce, homemade sweets, handmade crafts and other farm products.
Henrietta Weaver and her son, Don, displayed a table of homemade treats, including coconut strips, which she said were featured on the Deen brothers’ Food Network television show when they were in the Florida Keys, which Weaver called home for nearly 40 years. Now living in Riceboro, Weaver’s table of sweets also included freshly baked miniature pies and cake slices as well as seafood salad.
“I’m the guy who got the honey out of the courthouse,” said David Myers as he pointed to a shelf of local wildflower honey. “After I got all that honey (and presumably the honey bees) out of the courthouse last year, I strained it and jarred it then I sold every bit of that honey.”
Myers also had an impressive array of handmade woodcraft, which he called woodworking, including shelves, hat racks, doll cradles and storage crates. His woodshop and apiary are in Ludowici.
Blake and Danise Johnson’s long row of fresh spring vegetables made for a colorful display. From bright red and green tomatoes to shiny yellow squash, their assortment, which included local strawberries, cabbage and spring vegetables from Florida, attracted many market customers.
Hinesville resident Edna Riggs took a liking to the new potatoes and tomatoes, while Danise Johnson explained that she comes from a family of farmers. She laughed and said her father’s last name is McDonald.
Free samples were offered by FraLi Gourmet, LLC products, including freshly baked breads; a tangy roasted pepper salsa; a marinated eggplant topping called melanzane sott’olio; and a marinated mushroom topping called funghi sott’olio.
Lisa Marra, who was diagnosed with breast cancer a month after they opened FraLi Gourmet, said she eats only all-natural foods now, which she prepares according to traditional Italian methods.
Marra has been cancer-free since her double mastectomy two years ago. She believes her improved health is due to her healthy diet.