Fresh at Five returns for tenth year on June 6
By Sherry Lucas
Fresh at Five returns to Olde Towne Clinton on June 6, starting a summer series of fresh produce and related farmers market goodness that’s now entering its tenth year.
The market, 5-7 p.m. Tuesdays from June 6 through August 15 (with the exception of July 4), has ripened as steadily as the most lovingly tended garden since its start.
“They have grown steadily over the years, and their following has grown, as well,” says Main Street Clinton Director Tara Lytal. “We are pleased with the number and quality of our vendors.” “The focus on locally grown has been a driver in the overall success of community farmers markets,” Lytal says, with shoppers finding favorite vendors and establishing a real loyalty with them. “I think that anticipation of fresh produce drives the popularity.”
In addition to fresh produce and fruit, the jams, jellies, pickles, honey, bread, farm-raised meats, eggs, cheese and more will draw the hungry and the curious to Jefferson Street, on the block in front of City Hall, for farm-to-table forays and the one-to-one connections that make farmers markets so fun.
Residents can sign up for the weekly newsletter to keep up with what vendors will be present at each market, find out about special activities, get recipes and more. Invitations have gone out to local chefs, restaurants and musicians, with the hope of folding in more participation as the season unfolds.
Main Street Clinton hopes to have several local restaurants serving samples at the June 6 kickoff for Fresh at Five, Lytal says. About fifteen vendors are expected for the first market. Special activities throughout the season may include tastings from chefs onsite, music, and children’s activities.
“The market draws families, some of whom bring children in strollers and wagons to enjoy an evening stroll. Even pets are welcome!” says Main Street Clinton Assistant Jackie Massey.
“There is lots to look at and talk about,” with interactive activities led by community volunteers such as the Crown Club, Arts Council of Clinton, and the YMCA.
Vendors will likely find a small crowd eager to enjoy what they’ve pulled, preserved, and harvested from the land.
Jimmy Giles, a twenty-five-year beekeeper who grew up in Clinton — “I’m an old Arrow, it’s a great town,” he says — will be back with his Viking Honey, known as “Best Honey in the World.” It’s a brand that’s quick to engage customers and elicit a grin.
“It’s a great market,” he says of Fresh at Five, where he’s had a spot for quite a few years. It’s a chance to check in, too, with his old hometown, where he grew up on Berkshire Street (coincidentally, he’s now at home in the Monterey community near Florence at his grandparents’ place, called Giles Shire).
Keep an eye out, too, for the High Heeled Hippie, Peyton Johnson, who was among Fresh at Five’s first vendors a decade ago, and still going strong with produce that couldn’t be more local.
“I’ll probably start out with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant,” she says, along with such seasonal staples as okra, “mountains of fresh herbs,” her four-ingredient French bread, garlic and fresh potatoes that “are unlike anything, they’re so delicious!” Check out her Facebook page for the freshest look at what’s in season.
“I’ll try to have purple hull beans, which people love and I pickle.” Preservation has been a growing outlet for her. “I got such a good response, it’s now half of what I do,” Johnson says, with regular jams and pickles alongside intriguing offerings such as strawberry daiquiri jam and ginger garlic cauliflower. “I do some traditional recipes, and some edgy ones of my own.”