Among flowers, friendships grow

A Bellaire Blooms employee gathers flowers on Saturday, April 10, 2021, at the Lexington Farmers Market at Fifth Third Pavilion in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Brooklyn Kelley

Under shelter at Tandy Centennial Park, even the farmers get to enjoy the food, flowers and friends of the Lexington Farmers’ Market. The few employees at the downtown market give farmers who are working solo a few minutes to take a break and enjoy the surroundings, vibrant with colorful produce and on Saturday, colorful rain gear.

Farmers take this time to explore the market and all that their fellow vendors have to offer.

“My favorite thing is all the people I get to meet from all over the state and all over the country that come and visit. It’s a great tourist destination during the summer,” said Joshua England, a manager at the market.

He reminisced about the Cold Brew Coffee Festival that the market hosted back in 2019, which was his favorite event. He said that although the farmers’ market does not have a set date for this festival this year, they are planning to do it sometime in August.

The rain-or-shine market is held from 8:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday in April through October and vendors set up booths to sell cut flowers, herbs, hanging baskets, fruits and vegetables, beer and more. The busy, yet friendly atmosphere is fitting for the heart of downtown Lexington, even on a Saturday more rainy than not.

Tara Lawson stood with a smile at her booth, settled at the edge of the marketplace. Baskets of flowers and succulents surrounded her as she reached over them to take the money of excited customers. It is her second year at the market with her business, Tara’s Plants and Petals.

“I think a lot of people have really wanted to start gardening at home,” Lawson said. She said that even those who live downtown or in apartments with no yard whatsoever can still garden. She recommends getting hanging baskets, potted herbs, and succulents—all of which her business offers– for those who wish to have a little bit of green while still living in the middle of the city.

Just outside the crowd of customers sat Pat and Donnie Todd. Pat and Donnie call Lexington home, and decided to make their way to the Lexington Farmers’ Market just before heading to the Central Kentucky Home and Garden Show later Saturday. Donnie expressed their love for the produce as he pointed to a bag of tomatoes they had purchased.

Meanwhile, the owner of Stonehedge Farms, Adrienne Eggum, sat at her booth, more isolated than many others, but still cheerful. This is her nineteenth year selling at the Lexington Farmers’ Market. Eggum said that her favorite part about being involved in the farmers’ market is watching her plants grow.

“I love watching something, you know, something from the size of the head of a pen become a meal,” Eggum said. Her and her nine employees harvest on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, go to market on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, and weed and plant on Tuesday and Thursday.

Amidst the many stands of plants sat Tim Buckingham, the Events Coordinator for West Sixth Brewing.

“You know, our capacity is limited, but what’s actually been really neat is the farmers’ market has become a really huge source of sales for us over the year,” Buckingham said.

West Sixth Brewing began setting up and selling at the market on Saturdays and Sundays in 2016. This farmers’ market is not the only one that West Sixth Brewing sets up at; they go to a few different locations across the state to farmers’ markets, in addition to selling their beer in stores, according to Buckingham.

He said that his favorite thing about coming to the market is the social aspect. He stressed the importance of this social gathering that was Covid-safe, but still allowed for friends to catch up and for relationships with community members to build.