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Whistlestop Market gains steam in Pembroke

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POSTED: April 7, 2011 8:00 a.m.
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Tim Page, right, weighs a produce purchase for customer Linda Bacon, who is examining a bottle of cane syrup. (Al Hackle)

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Shoppers bought Gerber daisies in bloom, homemade wooden birdhouses, colorful stone necklaces and a few fresh vegetables.

The Whistlestop Farmer’s Market, the first major project of a revitalized Pembroke Downtown Development Authority (DDA), is slated to enliven the downtown parking area every Saturday until Nov. 19. Special event days, beginning with an Easter celebration, will punctuate the series about once each month.

Saturday was early yet for most local produce, and there were only eight booths, including two set up by the DDA and the city. But the flow of shoppers gave planners hope for vibrant Saturdays to come.

“I’m pleased,” said Marilyn Page, executive director of the Pembroke DDA. “It is a venture to bring more people into the downtown area, and it looks like it has worked very well today.”

Her husband Tim manned a booth that offered fruits and vegetables, including some Vidalia spring onions and Florida citrus. They will have more produce later from their own farm, he said.

Saturday’s market seemed perfectly timed for one vendor. With more than an hour remaining, The Branch Office had served about 50 customers, reported Debbie Floyd, who operates the plant nursery with her son, Alex. They had made two trips home for more plants when certain items ran out. Besides daisies, her azaleas and dogwood trees were selling fast.

It was one of those mornings when some people wear jackets while others are already in short sleeves.

“People are ready. They’re ready to plant, and if we get about 10 more degrees warmer, we’ll be good to go,” Floyd said.

For more, pick up a copy of the April 6 edition of the News.

 

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