Photo by Johnny Jackson
Jake Loyd (shown) and his wife, Holly Loyd, turnout for the weekly Farmer’s Market in Hampton.
HAMPTON — Visitors to the Farmers Market first see the subdued displays beneath the shade of tall trees, just below the business district.
On a warm Friday morning, this month, jewelry, produce, crafts, preserves, baked goods, and small lunch meals, were on sale at the open air market in historic downtown Hampton.
The market has continued to grow in interest in just the past couple of weeks, according to Hampton Main Street Director Candy Franklin, who coordinates the Farmers Market.
“Friday Market is going strong,” said Franklin. “We had nearly 160 visitors and 13 vendors [on Friday, June 15].”
Jake and Holly Loyd, a Hampton couple, have been selling Jake Loyd’s creations at the market for the past couple of weeks.
He retired from the commercial drywall construction industry during the housing bust, when jobs for him dried up in south Florida. This past winter, he and his wife moved to the area from the Hollywood, Fla., area.
Loyd now spends much of his time crafting bird houses with salvaged pieces of wood.
He said he started the hobby a few months ago in the basement of his home, when his wife asked him to build her a birdhouse. Ever since, he has put in an average eight man-hours of detailed construction on each of his birdhouse creations. And he has dozens of them now.
Elsewhere at the market, a schoolteacher, Ava Mangham, and her daughter, Amy, have spent their summer selling home-grown vegetables and fruit.
On nearly a daily basis during the work week, they pack up their Chevrolet Avalanche with melons, tomatoes, squash and peaches, and they head to an area Farmers Market.
“I love going to the markets,” said Mangham. “You meet a lot of people. I enjoy meeting people.”
On Fridays, the mother and daughter trek some 20 miles north, from their 15-acre farm in Zebulon to Hampton.
Mangham said she has met several people interested in purchasing the locally grown produce.
Robert James harvests Paper Shell Pecans and grows red Better Boy and Cherokee Purple Heirloom tomatoes on his 20-acre family farm in Griffin. The 75-year-old retired several years ago after 50 years working as an aircraft mechanic for several different airlines. He spends his days getting his home-grown produce to market.
“I just like getting out,” said James. “It gives me something to do.”
James’s wife, Donna, sends him along with several samples of her baked goods — lemon cookies, oatmeal raise bread loaves, and pie crusts.
The Farmers Market will continue throughout the summer in downtown Hampton, at 2 West Main St., next door to Hampton United Methodist Church.
The market is open each Friday, from 9 a.m., until 1 p.m. Franklin said the final day for the market is Friday, Sept. 28.
Those interested in becoming vendors at the market are asked to contact Franklin at (770) 946-4306.