Bid for fresh fruit, vegetables at Courtland market

Published 10:15 am Wednesday, July 6, 2011


COURTLAND—For people who like fresh produce, the Southeast Virginia Farmer’s Market in Courtland is the place to go.

The market held its fourth produce auction Thursday at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services retail shed at 24540 Agripark Drive behind the Food Lion.

“Although it’s early in the season, there were about 25 vendors on hand with everything from freshly picked vegetables such as string beans, cabbage, cucumbers and squash to sunflowers and zinnias,” said manager Mike Marks.

The auction will be held every Thursday through October.

Local producers as well as those from Suffolk, Pungo and Camden, N.C., brought in boxes of watermelons, cantaloupes and peaches, while one vendor had green and yellow miniature gourds.

Tomatoes came in both the large and small varieties and in various stages of ripeness.

The auction begins at 6:30 p.m. and continues until everything is sold, said auctioneer Gene Daniels.

“We begin with what we call the wholesale items, where store owners or roadside stands can buy in quantities, then move on to smaller amounts, which are sold to individuals,” Daniels said.

“It’s a perfect way for people to purchase produce for canning or freezing,” added Marks.

He noted that produce is sold on commission, with the facility receiving 12 percent.

“This helps with expenses, such as paying the auctioneer and any other charges for running the auction,” Marks said. “This is a good thing for the community. It gives local farmers an outlet for their products and other residents a chance to purchase fresh produce.”