It was all that Cade Flowers, 5, could do to hold onto the armful of fresh squash he was carrying.

Making it even more difficult was the crush of shoppers attending Tuesday's opening day for the Farm Credit Farmers Market located behind the Maxwell Regional Agricultural and Convention Center, 3114 Wayne Memorial Drive.

Little sister Cannon Flowers, 3, tagged long behind Cade, occasionally stopping to touch the produce.

"He has a pocket full of money, and he is ready to go," said his grandmother, Wendy Pittman of the Nahunta community as she checked out the other fresh fruit and produce offerings from Britt Farms of Mount Olive. "They are probably picking out more than we can pay for."

Pittman said she is excited about having local producers.

"We don't have to go to Raleigh anymore," she said. "My grandchildren are here. We definitely want watermelon, blueberries, peaches and squash. We are excited. We are excited about the whole (Maxwell) Center.

"It is fresh and it is beautiful, and I really want to see some flowers out here, like some flower growers and stuff and plants."

As an event planner, Pittman said the Maxwell Center campus is exciting for her and that the farmers market is much better than gardening herself.

"No bugs here. The best two rows (of vendors) we have are these two rows right here," she said making a reference to rows of crops.

Market rules require that vendors grow and/or raise a minimum of 50 percent of their sellable items.

Sellable items include vegetables, fruits, eggs, meats, cut flowers, bedding plants and transplants, local honey and dairy products.

Tuesday's offerings created rainbow of colors -- bright red tomatoes, yellow squash, green watermelons, zucchini and peppers, blueberries and peaches.

"This is an exciting day," Extension Director Kevin Johnson said, prior to a ribbon cutting to officially open the market. "We've had many attempts at a farmers market at several different locations, and this is Wayne County and Goldsboro's first permanent farmers market.

"We are really excited about that for many, many reasons. This is kind of the closure of this entire project (Maxwell Center) now. We have been talking about this for 15, 20 years or so."

The market is opening a little later than anticipated for various reasons, he said.

That includes having to rebid the project after the decision was made to scale it back some. Also, contributing to the delay was when the wrong roof was delivered for the building.

Agriculture is important to the county, Wayne County Commission Chairman Bill Pate said.

"If you don't have agriculture, you don't eat," he said. "Remember, if you ate today, thank a farmer, and if you ate something fresh today, thank a Wayne County farmer."

Wayne County ranks third in the state in agriculture which is the state's largest industry, Pate said.

Pate thanked Farm Credit for sponsoring the farmers market.

"This is a big day for Wayne County," said Dave Column, president and chief executive officer of Ag Carolina Farm Credit. "It is also a big day for the farmers around here.

"When we were approached about this opportunity here, it was a really easy decision. It was a win-win when you think about it."

It is great for the farmers since it provides them with a place to bring their produce and make a little money, he said.

It is also great for the residents and community who can get quality fresh produce, Corum said.

It will be a seasonal market, probably operating from April through October.

It will be open on Tuesdays and Fridays from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.

However, that could change, Johnson said.

"If the demand is there, we will be open more," he said.

The building has 10 bays, but each one can be broken down into two spaces creating the potential to add more vendors as the market grows.

Application packets with the base rules are available at the Maxwell Center, and vendors will pay a $25 annual fee and then $5 a day rental space.