Last year, organizers of the Smyrna Farmers Market decided to start a new December tradition by hosting a holiday market.
"Many buildings were decorated and the event set the mood for Christmas," said Volunteer Market Manager Robin Bruner. "The weather was beautiful and people loved it."
The event is actually an extension of the seasonal farmers market, which occupies Market Plaza on summer Saturdays. Local artisans, bakers, gardeners, crafters and farmers set up shop for a few hours, selling their wares while residents peruse the items and socialize.
Many of the vendors at the holiday market will be similar to the summer roster but Bruner is hoping that people will stop by to shop for small Christmas gifts, adding that "there are so many unique items." Earlier in the week, 12 vendors had been confirmed but more last minute additions are expected.
For homegrown goodies, people can stop by and peruse the selection of Fickners, T.A. Farms, Two Acres Farm and Powers Farm.
Two Acre Farm, a small personal farm in Dover, just began with the Smyrna Farmers Market this year. Owned by Richard Spangler and his family, he said that the farm-to-table concept that they try to introduce to customers is not so much a marketing tagline as it is a way of life.
"We started out just growing products for our family so we would know what we were eating. We want to know what the animals are eating," Spangler explained, adding that everything they sell was either grown or made-from-scratch by them.
But, the holiday market is for gifts not stocking the fridge, right? Spangler said that more and more people seem to appreciate the gift of all-natural, locally produced food these days. And, with the farm's new on-site kitchen permit, they're now able to make all sorts of homemade pies, cakes, muffins and jams.
"We're going to be making up some jam baskets that will include three jams each," Spangler said. "We have an apple pie jam that tastes just like the apple pie filling we put in our pies."
Men might appreciate the pork products, which includes every kind of cut imaginable for products like bacon, scrapple, sausages, ribs and ham.
"We almost sold out of everything pork-related we have this summer at the market," he said, recalling the people who have turned into year-around customers.
Pork products can be bought by the pound (prices available at one the company website) while fresh eggs are $3 per dozen and jams are $5 each for eight-ounce jars. Pecan, cherry, apple and pumpkin pies are also available.
Page 2 of 2 - Traditional gifts like picture frames and hand-made jewelry will also be available. Bruner said that she is personally looking forward to seeing the freshly cut greenery that Duck Creek Horticulture Society is bringing to the market.
"I'm putting off my decorating until the greens get here," she said.
DCHS President Kathryn Augustine confirmed that the society will be selling 12-inch and 14-inch wreaths for $12 to $20 and fresh 25-foot "roping" for about $15. "The roping is plain so you can decorate it how you need to," Augustine said. "But, the wreaths have bows in a variety of colors. The ladies actually make these large, wonderful bows. They're not run-of-the-mill Walmart bows."
Augustine also said that customers are welcome to mine DCSH members for decorating advice.
"We're happy to share what we know with people," she said. "This year, we're decorating the front of Town Hall for the first time. But, we've decorated the museum and we've also helped with Belmont Hall. We just try to work hand-in-hand to get the town spruced up for the holidays."
She said that it was important for people to know that the money made at the market goes toward their decorating efforts around town as well as a yearly $500 horticulture/agriculture scholarship. They're also always looking for new members, even at the market.
"For the most part, it's just eight or 10 of us but it's great fun and good socializing," Augustine said. "And, you don't have to know anything about horticulture. You just have to like flowers."
Freshly cut décor is likely not at the top of the every kid's must-see list, though. Bruner said that the Smyrna Renaissance Association will once again have activities for children and Santa will make his grand appearance at 2 p.m.
"He'll arrive by sleigh on the Plaza first," Bruner said. "He'll talk to a few people and then get back in his sleigh and head over to Plank House to have his photo taken and hear what children want this year."