Petersburg residents, young and old, got creative for the first community market of the summer. Customers perused the bustling market while vendors sold art painted with coffee, mushroom logs, bath salts and salmon leather earrings. Abbey Collins has more.
It’s Saturday. The first day of the season for the market in Petersburg. On First Street, there’s a line of people waiting to get into the ANB-ANS hall just before opening.
The doors open and the line continues inside, snaking around the hall to the Farragut Farm table and fresh local produce. It’s a big draw for marketgoers. The market schedule is even based around when the tides allow the farm to make the trip to Petersburg. But it’s not the only table in the building.
Around the hall vendors of all ages are set up at tables selling their creations. Alice Neidiffer is selling cookies – oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, sugar, and chocolate thumbprint – to raise money for a law program at Stanford. Kellii Wood has t-shirts, prints and greeting cards of her art.
And 13-year-old Maia Cowan sits behind a table filled with a variety of homemade items. She says she made everything by herself.
“I have bath salts, earrings, cards, garden decorations and cake,” she says.
A table over, her 9-year-old brother Blaise sits, surrounded by plants and some big logs. They’re mushroom logs, he says.
“You just put them in a shady spot where it’s wet and they just grow shitake mushrooms out of them,” says Cowan.
Cowan explained how they’re made.
“You put little spores in it,” he says. “Like little spores you hammer into the wood. And then it enucleates the log.”
That’s not all he’s selling. Those little plants all over his table are plant starts.
“I have nasturtiums and sunflowers, kale, and lettuce.”
Across the way, Beth Richards is also selling starts. Her table is covered in all kinds of plants. She says they’re leftover from planting in her own garden and she’s not actually sure what they all are.“I had all these leftovers. So rather than get rid of them, you know, in the garbage can or whatever I thought I’d bring them up here and sell them today,” says Richards.
She says people can use them to start their own plants in their own gardens.
“That’s right. And I have some mystery plants here because when I went and planted my cabbage and my broccoli and my cauliflower they were in their own little separate trays when I went into the garden,” says Richards. “And after I planted as many as I could in my garden I turned around and realized that I hadn’t put them back in their same little trays. And I can’t tell the difference so now I have these mystery plants.”
On the other side of the hall, Jodie Banks has a display of salmon leather earrings.
“I make them out of tanned salmon leather, salmon skins. And they’re bark or tea tanned,” says Banks.
She says she catches the salmon that she uses to make the earrings.
“Yeah I do, they’re king salmon and coho’s mostly,” says Banks.
Tammie Wales sits behind a table covered in custom art. She has coffee art for sale. That’s just what it sounds like, designs painted with coffee.
She also has art made with tattoo ink.
“The colored art is actually painted with 100 percent tattoo ink,” says Wales. “So it’s kind of an alternative art resembling a watercolor.”
The market was busy with people coming and going throughout my visit. According to the market manager Chelsea Tremblay, there were 16 vendors and around 360 people turned up over the course of the three hour day.
I spoke with Tremblay ahead of the first market. She says she’s looking forward to energy that comes along with the season.
“You have all these lovely people eating delicious food, enjoying each others company and appreciating the creativity and hard work of all the different facets of this town, because visitors come through and are just completely electrified by what they see and how much diversity there is and what people can create here,” she says. “All the hours that people can put into products. Really they do the whole year but summer is where it really comes to life. I think that feeling, that is a really special type of energy that you really only see at the market.”
She says if you didn’t make it out to this first market, it’s not too late.
“Any time, people can hop on in. And just because you do one does not mean you’re committed to all. So if you do one and it’s a lot of work then you know what, take a break and hopefully we’ll see you again,” says Tremblay. “It’s always up to what people are willing to do. We want people to come back and enjoy this market every year and every time they can. So don’t overextend yourself but also see what you can do, it’s pretty cool.”
This was just the first, but there will be five more markets this summer, two each month. Who knows what you might find there next.