More than two dozen vendors gathered for Blue Ridge Food Ventures’ annual holiday market, held 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10, on A-B Tech’s Enka campus. The event, which drew about 750 shoppers last year, brings together craft food purveyors from Blue Ridge Food Ventures and other suppliers of small-batch goods.
“We started with the winter CSA,” says Blue Ridge Food Ventures executive director Chris Reedy, referring to the Winter Sun Farms community supported agriculture program that uses the BRFV facility for distribution days. When local businesses asked to set up vendor booths in conjunction with CSA pick-ups, it prompting a series of mini tailgate markets.
Between veggies from Winter Sun and artisan meats, breads and sweets from other vendors, the congregation has essentially morphed into a specialty grocery pop-up shop, and while most products can be consumed as everyday household goods, many easily double as holiday gifts.
“This really coalesced as the holiday market three or four years ago,” says Reedy, “and it’s just grown ever since.” Next year Reedy hopes to locate the market in A-B Tech’s Hanes Building, which would accommodate roughly 100-150 vendors. “We’re trying to build it into something a little bit bigger,” he says.
“This is one of those things that’s taken an organic growth process,” says Reedy. “I think we’re going to move over [to the Hanes Building] next year and work with a couple different partners and make it a blow-out event.”
See the slide show below for a selection of vendors and products. Photos by Kat McReynolds.