05/23/05 — Peeved produce sellers move down the street

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Peeved produce sellers move down the street

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on May 23, 2005 1:48 PM

People looking for the Goldsboro Farmers Market over the weekend could only find a farmer's market.

Colt Holloway, a long-time vendor at the official market, has set up his produce stand on family-owned land on Pine Street. He hopes to get the other vendors to join him there.

"We'll do fine here," he said Saturday morning. "My customers are finding me."

Holloway grew tired of waiting on the city to determine what to do with the official market. His stand is right around the corner, and a steady stream of vehicles pulled up to the curb.

Colt Holloway at his produce stand

News-Argus/Boby Williams

Colt Holloway hawks produce at the corner of Pine and James streets.

"Is this where you're going to be?" one man asked.

Holloway turned around and boasted, "I told you that they were looking for me."

City officials had been trying to determine for weeks what to do with the farmers market. Earlier this year, a city inspector found $10,000-$15,000 in necessary repairs, and the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation, which runs the market, said that its revenues did not justify that type of expense.

The City Council agreed last week to tear down the market's buildings but allow vendors to sell out of truck beds or on tables in the parking lot six days a week. But the only thing in that lot over the weekend was the city's demolition equipment.

The late decision angered Holloway.

"Why wouldn't I be mad? People look forward to the market being open," he said.

He also questions the city's safety concerns. How could the buildings need that many repairs, he said, when the roof was replaced a few years ago?

"Look at it -- there's not a scratch on it," he said.

The Holloways have sold produce in Goldsboro for a long time. His father, Herbert, used to sell off tables under trees at a local funeral home before the city market opened. For at least 15 years, the family has had a booth at the city market. Colt Holloway's sister, Mary Rhoe, runs it as often as he does.

The season usually runs from May 1 through Christmas, Holloway said.

Typically, you can buy local turnip roots, spring onions and collards at this time of year. The first watermelons and cantaloupes will be available in two weeks, although locally grown ones will take longer. Corn, tomatoes, squash, lettuce and carrots are available throughout the summer. Holloway has planted eight types of peppers. In the fall, you can buy different types of greens and pumpkins.

Talk like that makes some people anxious.

"I plant a garden but it always comes off late. When I want some vegetables, I want them now," said Preston Blackwell Jr.

Blackwell would rather buy locally grown goods than those in stores. "To me, it's fresher and cheaper," he said.

He picked up some onions and brushed dirt off them. "This was picked this morning or yesterday. The ones at the store could have been lying there a week," he said.

"It beats going to Raleigh," chimed in his wife, Shirley.

Bleaka Pope said that she looks forward to the market for "the atmosphere, the fresh vegetables, the price, the people." She has been buying from Holloway for years, she said.

She picked up a pea pod. "Look at how fat that is. The ones at the store might be half that size."

Holloway was smoking a cigarette when he heard a woman exclaim, "Get rid of that cigarette."

Holloway turned, saw Naomia Adams and ashamedly stubbed it out. He said, "Any time she comes, I have to watch out. She knows what I've been through."

"And he doesn't remember," Mrs. Adams said.

None of the customers said that they would mind coming to the new location, but several said they were mad about any inconvenience put upon the vendors.

"They didn't give them enough notice, doing this right at the start of the season," Mrs. Adams said. "Anyone with a lick of sense would have known better."