2016-09-22 / News

Finale Monday at Fort Getty farmers market

By Ryan Gibbs

ABOVE: Kathy Brownell’s ukulele groups performs Hawaiian tunes Monday at Fort Getty. ABOVE: Kathy Brownell’s ukulele groups performs Hawaiian tunes Monday at Fort Getty. Fifteen weeks of mostly sunny, successful shopping culminate Monday when Fort Getty hosts the final farmers market of the 2016 season.

During the penultimate market Monday, a rare guest arrived — rain. Despite the weather, a steady stream of customers were squeezing tomatoes and browsing for colorful artwork.

The market, held each Monday (save for Labor Day) under the pavilion, features a blend of artists, craftsmen, farmers, bakers and musicians. This is the first year for Alexandra Kent and Jan Goodland-Metz, the third operating team to helm the market since its inaugural season in 2013.

“We’ve had a lot of support from the community,” Goodland- Metz said. “This is their market. We’re here for them.”

According to Goodland-Metz, townspeople and RV campers continue to show their support, but she also echoed restaurateurs and storefront owners in the village: The splendid weather attracted new faces to town.

Left: Aislyn Korn, 1, tries a freshly picked lemon. Photos by Andrea von Hohenleiten Left: Aislyn Korn, 1, tries a freshly picked lemon. Photos by Andrea von Hohenleiten “There’s been a lot of tourists,” she said.

Michiganders Anne and Adam Larkin stopped by the pavilion Monday to shop with their daughter.

“We were looking for something to do and a farmer’s market is always a good idea,” Anne Larking said. “It’s a little smaller than we’re used to, but it’s neat.”

The season started off slow on June 6, Kent said, but business picked up significantly. Aside from Labor Day, when Tropical Storm Hermine coasted by the island, Monday was the first overcast day of the season.

“The weather’s been perfect,” Kent said.

Goodland-Metz estimated the market had three times as many customers as last season. Weekly live music heightened the attraction, Kent said. Among the acts were singer John Wemple of Ragged Company and Kathy Brownell’s Jamestown ukulele sextet that performed Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson Monday. The market was offered as a “no-pressure” place to perform.

According to Kent, beverages were especially popular this season, most likely because of the heat. Fully Rooted, a vendor that offers raw, cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juice, was a hit. Also creating a buzz was Lemons Aid, a vendor run by Portsmouth resident Laura Reaper and her son, Jackson, which started as a school project to benefit charities.

Along with organizing the market, both Kent and Goodland Metz are vendors. Kent is a painter and printmaker, while Goodland-Metz sells pottery and organic vegetables. For the first time Monday, Kent’s teenage daughter, Nina, manned a booth, selling earrings at the table next to her mother’s.

In a bittersweet moment, Windmist Farm co-owner Martha Neale said she’ll miss the market during the off-season. However, it’s been a good year for business. Her best sellers are vegetables.

“That’s one of the reasons why I like this market. I can bring the vegetables,” she said. “The other markets I don’t. I bring just meats.”

Photographer Matthew Bonner has been selling his pictures of sunsets and waves for the past two weeks. A senior at North Kingstown High School, he is vending to raise money for college. He’s enjoyed meeting new people.

“I think people are interested that there are pictures here,” he said.

Lealah O’Neill, a friend of Kent’s, sold her crocheted hats for the first time Monday. She’ll be back for the finale. “People don’t tend to buy crocheted hats in the middle of the summer, so I waited until the end,” she said.

Also helping has been Barbara Szepatowski, who has volunteered selling bread and pastries from Borrelli’s Bakery in Wickford. Bakery workers haven’t been available, so Szepatowski and a friend have rotated vending duty at the booth.

“We sold out of all the scones, all of the cookies and a good 60 percent of the bread,” Szepatowski said.

For the final market Monday, Farm Dog will perform. The three-man cover band has a set list of more than 300 songs, including Led Zeppelin and Neil Young. As for prepared foods, the Paco’s Tacos food truck will be joined by Sarcastic Sweets, a traveling Providence-based caterer known for its cupcakes, cookies and brownies.

“It’s going to be a blowout for us,” Kent said.

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