Three long-time vendors at the Yadkin Farmers Market were honored on July 26. Hurley Johnson, Bill Miller and Everette Hartzog are each over the age of 85 and have been growing produce for the market since its inception.
“This was a special celebration for the market. We had to do something to recognize these gentlemen and show how proud we are to have them as part of the market,” said Colleen Church, Yadkin County Extension director. “All of the market vendors pulled together to make this happen. They all work together to create a very neighborly, family-like atmosphere, which really makes this market special. We are very thankful to the community for their continued support.”
“These three young men have been with us every since we started the market about 10 years ago so I think they deserve a big hand,” said market manager Aileen Steelman at the celebration. Steelman said the trio has been a big part of the market’s success.
“They’re just the backbones of this thing,” she said.
Johnson is a lifelong resident of Yadkin County, a veteran of the U.S. Army and deacon at Shiloh Baptist Church. His family said he has always had a passion for gardening. Tomatoes and watermelons are among his favorite crops to raise, as well as sugar cane which he uses to make molasses, an art he has passed on to his granddaughter Melia and her husband Kyle Howard.
“Molasses has been an event for family and friends at Hurley’s home for many years,” his family said. “Grinding the cane has been accomplished in many ways from mules to tractors to riding lawnmowers and currently a homemade motor pulley system. It’s always been an adventure.”
Miller, also an Army veteran, grew up in the sawmill industry, following in the footsteps of his father. He also worked in tobacco before going into the car sales business. When he retired at age 75, Miller starting gardening and not just a few rows, but a few acres. Miller is known for his strawberries at the Yadkin Farmers Market, as well as his sweet and Irish potatoes, green beans, peppers and pumpkins. His peas are also very popular. He doesn’t just grow, pick and sell them, he washes and packages them so they are ready for canning or cooking.
Hartzog, a native of Ashe County and also a veteran, holds several degrees in agriculture. He served as the agriculture extension agent for Yadkin County for 25 years. Hartzog volunteers with a number of local groups including Yadkinville United Methodist Church and on projects such as a community garden and voter registration.
These farmers and many more offer their produce and other items at the Yadkin Farmers Market, located at 1141 Tennessee St. in Yadkinville. The market is open on Tuesdays from 3 to 6p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tomatoes, corn, beans and peppers are among the items in season now. The market also has local produced meats, baked goods, plants, handmade soaps and more. Learn more about events and items in season at the Yadkin Farmers Market Facebook page.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram at @RippleReporterK.