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SPECIAL EVENT


The Vista Marketplace at Whaley celebrates its first anniversary Saturday from 9 until 1 at 701 Whaley with an explosion of locally produced foods and goods, a visit from Mayor Steven Benjamin, and visits from area gardeners dropping off their entries in the annual Tasty Tomato festival.

The Vista Marketplace at Whaley has a comfortable, friendly vibe that lends itself to the enjoyment of acoustic music, good food and bring-from-home drink. It also opens at 9 a.m. and goes until 1 p.m., and appeals to people who believe that knowing and talking to who grows your food fulfills a personal goal of dining on “basic building blocks that contain no additives, preservatives, trans fats, artificial flavorings or ingredients of any kind, or outrageous calorie counts … in other words … actual food” that is “nutritionally sound and environmentally friendly.”

A customer writes: “The eggs and sausage from Hanna Hands Farm are worth the drive from Lexington every Saturday morning, along with the chicken pot pies, veggies, bread and breakfast on the porch! Market gets better each week. Can’t wait for local veggies!” Ask Byron Hanna of Hanna Hands Farms if he has green eggs and ham – but he might have some ivory-hued eggs amid the wide variety of green-shelled eggs. Whatever the color, they are delicious and fresh.

Smokin Coles and its renowned prize-winning sauces will team up with Hanna Hands to offer some marvelous barbecue for the celebration of the Vista Marketplace becoming the longest running, continuously operating local farmers market in the Columbia area.

Craig and Cameron Reaves of Sea Eagle will come up from Beaufort bringing a variety of incredibly fresh seafood, including some of the sweetest shrimp and buttery wild salmon you will ever eat.

Mary Benson Brown’s Treats and Treasures is a treat to take in, with favorites including her caramel cakes and Palmetto Shortbread cookies – but do not pass by her addictive and authentic Benne Wafers.

Enjoy the variety offered by Bubble Tea Café.

Renee of L’Ecuyer’s Gourmet is a nurse practitioner who is registered with FDA and has devoted lots of research into developing allergen-free products from her spice mixtures to her skin-care products.

Gifts to Go brings its fabulous chicken salad and pimento cheese, chicken pot pies and delicious cheesy tomato pie, breakfast casseroles and flatbreads, fresh cakes and bruschetta’s, along with chowders and olive tapenade.

Donna Blake brings freshly picked organic blueberries from her Oak Grove Farms. She has fresh eggs, too – and some of hers are blue!

Robbie Browder of Uncle Bubba’s will offer a variety of breads, catfish stew and pecans.

Ellin Baskin will exhibit her artistic talents.

AYSA’s Organics will continue to delight its following with its carefully husbanded variety of organic products.

Lori Watson of Millcreek Greenhouse has exactly what you need to brighten and enhance your lawn and garden.

Mandi Kirkpatrick of Weekend Crafter has the perfect hostess gift, as does Delores Smith of Elegant Stages.

Floral and Hardy will attract notice due to their beautiful blooming plants.

The Vista Marketplace at Whaley offers one unique feature – a $25 family basket filled by various local small businessmen and women and craft farmers. A winter basket would have provided collards, turnips, carrots, beets, spinach, lettuces, peppers, cabbages, mushrooms, red and white creamer potatoes, baking and sweet potatoes, pears, several varieties of apples. The greens are harvested, but their place is now taken by fresh corn and tomatoes and peppers and melons and berries. Liz McCullar of Gifts to Go occasionally surprises by supplementing the family basket with such treats as her homemade pimento cheese or some local eggs or baked goods.

These family baskets must be pre-ordered by going to www.vista.locallygrown.net. The Vista Marketplace at Whaley began as an on-line ordering service for locally grown produce and goods, with weekly pick-up at Bill Dukes’ Blue Marlin restaurant in the Vista. When the original Whaley Street market closed, several of its original vendors came together to reopen it as the Vista Marketplace at Whaley.

The Vista Marketplace at Whaley invites you to its first anniversary celebration and urges you to remember to shun dishes that have more than half a dozen ingredients, especially if you can neither pronounce nor spell nor google them – and there are now good alternatives to finding better options.