Saluda Tailgate Market celebrates 10th anniversary on May 3

Saluda Tailgate Market volunteers

Press release from Saluda Lifestyles:

The Saluda Tailgate Market celebrates its 10th anniversary when the season begins May 3, 2019 on West Main Street in Saluda.

The Saluda Tailgate Market is an agricultural product fair that allows shoppers to buy farm fresh and local food every Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. May through October. Agricultural products include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, plants, eggs and meat. If it’s in season and the weather has been good, you will see it at the market. In addition to fruits, vegetables and plants, locally baked and canned goods are available for sale.

The market is sponsored by the Saluda Business Association, Inc. and the City of Saluda. Its success for the past 10 years has been due to its vendors, shoppers and team of volunteers. Walter Hoover, Shelley DeKay and Beth Carson were some of the original volunteers and founders. Working the market each season for the past 10 years, this dedicated group put up signs, set up barricades, greet shoppers, handle marketing, and ensure market rules and regulations are followed.  It’s been the attention to detail that has made the Saluda market different and a fun place to congregate and visit.

Walter Hoover, market volunteer and vendor, said, “It hardly seems possible that ten years working for the market have passed! The market has been more than just a place to buy fresh, locally produced food. It has served, also, as a place where the community, the vendors, and many visitors to the town have come together to share a Saluda experience. The 2019 market is shaping up to be the best market yet with several new vendors joining the many vendors who have been with us from the beginning.”  

Martha Ashley, a 91-year-old Saluda resident, has been attending the market since it first opened. Ashley said, “I enjoy going to the market. There’s a nice variety of fresh vegetables to cook and eat.  I run into people I don’t normally see. We have a lot of tourists and summer folk. I stop to talk, visit with them and then I move on.”  

A few volunteers of the Saluda Business Association interested in having a local growers’ market started the market in the summer of 2010.  It has become a favorite tradition that shoppers look forward to from spring to fall every year.

Volunteer Shelley DeKay said, “We realized early on that this market was more than just providing locally grown food options and supporting neighbors who wanted to grow produce. We were part of a larger food movement that shifted the way we think about food: how we eat, shop and socialize, and how we think about our community and the land that surrounds us.”  DeKay pointed out that local producers are connected to consumers to keep food dollars in the community and support regional fresh food and family farms, thereby protecting the flourishing of beautiful ridges, fertile fields and clean watersheds. “A tailgate market is a fairly simple event with a powerful impact in terms of quality of life,” DeKay said. “It’s been great to be a part of that.” 

Many Saluda restaurants and businesses have made contact with growers at the Saluda market and now buy regularly from these vendors, increasing the impact to the local economy. Educating consumers about the different types of vegetables and the varieties plays an important part of the market . Explaining what they grow and why, market vendors take time to share from their experiences so that individuals can try their hand at growing their own vegetables.

 For more information about signing up as a vendor at the Saluda Tailgate Market, please visit the website at or contact Shelley DeKay at 828-606-5713.

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