Jennyne Pinter, firstname.lastname@example.org
The town of Benton saw the return of the Benton Farmers’ Market last week.
Garrett Jacobs of recent American Idol fame entertained the crowd with live acoustic music while vendors chatted with shoppers and displayed their goods.
Farm-grown produce, fresh honey, jarred jellies and preserves as well as unique soaps and lotions were among some of the many things shoppers could choose from.
A vendor with a niche of their own is the Glory and Grace Splendid Tea Company. Sherry Pryor is the owner of the business along with her husband, Michael.
“Everything is homemade, all from tea,” Pryor said, standing at the array of dry rubs and jellies. “I love tea. We started out just making tea and then we grew into the dry meat rubs and barbeque sauces. All of our jellies are made from sweet tea and we have a lot of seasonings and spices.”
Food is not the only thing to be found at the market. The Bossier Parish EMS hosts a table where people can get a check on their blood pressure and glucose levels. he crew offers record booklets to assist people in keeping track of this vital information, as well as supplying ‘yellow dot’ program materials so that important medical information can be accessed by first responders in the event of a car accident or medical emergency.
Debbie Morris works with the senior paramedics and assisted people as they were passing through the vendor aisles.
“There’s already been one lady here that’s elderly and the heat got to her, so they came and got us. But she was okay, she just needed help getting to her car,” Morris said. “Another gentleman came here and sat down and his blood pressure was really low.”
On-site cooking was also a hit, with bbq, tamales and southern comfort food to name a few.
As to be expected, treats and sweets also made a good showing. There were homemade whoopie pies, Christy’s Homemade Goodies, smoothies, shaved ice and a special treat from a unique business called Picicles. Piciles is owned and operated by Dana and Petra Petruska.
“It is frozen pie on a stick but it’s not as heavy,” Dana explained. “It’s more a crossover between pie and ice cream. And seldom we bring out fresh crepes to order.”
The bulk of this business, however, is in the Petruska’s freshly baked breads. Made the day before sale, these recipes are authentic and mostly from eastern Europe. Picicles is a full-time business, but only does 3 farmer’s markets each year. They can also be found at a variety of holiday festivals or supplying special orders.
“We also do healthier desserts as well,” Petra added. “For people who are diabetic, vegan, gluten-free…so we have a lot of different options and are working on some that are sugar-free as well.”
In the center of the main aisle was Our Kitchen Creations booth, owned and operated for the last 9 years by Nancy James. Her products are mixes for dips, entrees, desserts, breads and more.
“I didn’t bring everything I have,” James said, “but I have about 25-30 different mixes. They’re great for Christmas gifts, they’re great for college students who live in the dorm, they’re great for a gift welcoming someone to the neighborhood.” Though she does sell online at her website, most of James’ business is conducted at the markets.
Samples of the mixes were prepared and kept warm at her table for shoppers to try.
The Benton Farmers’ Market will be open every Sunday afternoon noon to 4 p.m. through July 15 at Benton Park.