Farm Credit Farmers Market

Janie Cox, right, shows eggs to Linda and Thomas Gibbons at the Cox Farm booth at the Farm Credit Farmers Market.

The serious look on Katherine Everhart’s face quickly turned into a grin as she studied the baskets of large, bright red strawberries on the table in front of her.

Katherine Everhart

Katherine Everhart, 4, smiles as she checks out the large strawberries at the Smith Produce booth during opening day Thursday of the Farm Credit Farmers Market. Katherine was shopping with her grandmother, Linda Everhart. Katherine is the daughter of Richard and Evon Everhart of Apex.

The 4-year-old was shy but said she likes strawberries.

Her grandmother, Linda Everhart, promised they would return to purchase some after finishing making the rounds at the Farm Credit Farmers Market during its opening day on Thursday.

Linda and Thomas Gibbons like strawberries, too.

The berries they had just purchased from Harrell’s Produce would be enjoyed that night as dessert, Linda Gibbons said.

They also purchased sweet potatoes, eggs, asparagus and potatoes.

The couple used to farm in New Jersey and sold their goods at a farmers market there. They moved to Goldsboro about four years ago.

“This is my first year attending,” she said. “Last year, I came for the plant sale. It’s wonderful to see that we still have farms that are producing our vegetables and our fruits.”

“I still like to keep my hands in flowers,” he said. “Our farmers market up North started in the middle of May.

Gibbons said he was not surprised by the small variety of items available.

“It is early,” he said.

Lingering cool, wet weather is to blame for the sparse offering, said Kim Harrell with Harrell’s Produce in the Grantham community. The weather has delayed produce by three to five weeks, she said.

Sarah Harrell

Sarah Harrell of Harrell’s Produce weighs produce during Thursday’s opening day at the Farm Credit Farmers Market.

The Harrells are sharing a booth with their neighbors who own Cox Farm that was selling fresh eggs from free-range chickens.

“We are going to be having all kinds of vegetables, but it is going to be slim for right now, but as they come off we will have them — egg plants, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, honey, peas, okra, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes,” Harrell said.

Thursday’s offerings included sweet potatoes, asparagus, cabbage, turnips, tomatoes and some beets.

The Harrells set up at the market last year as well and had previously set up at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh.

“We left from there, and we are hoping to build this up,” she said. “It is convenient. It is a nice place.”

Outside, Extension Service Master Gardeners passed out free soil-testing kits and advice.

Several vendors selling arts and crafts, a first for the market, were set up in an adjoining parking lot.

Vendors pay a $25 annual fee and then $5-a-day rental space fee for every day they set up at the market — the same as last year.

The market is located behind the Maxwell Center on Wayne Memorial Drive.

It will be the market’s first full year of operation. It didn’t open until June of last year as the county waited on the building to be completed, and it closed early in September because of Hurricane Florence.

Beginning in May, the market will host a number of special days, including the Extension Master Gardeners’ annual Garden Festival and Plant Sale May 3-4, followed by Strawberry Day on May 10.

The Farm Credit Farmers Market will be open this season from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. It will be closed April 19 and 20 for Easter. The last day of the market is Nov. 27.

For more information, contact Joyce McLamb, market manager, at joyce.mclamb@waynegov.com, or Extension Agent Jessica Strickland at jessica.strickland@waynegov.com, or call 919-731-1520.