First farmer: Phil Hanes has been a regular since Day 1 at the Clemmons Farmers Market, which has now grown to full capacity as a new season opens at the Jerry Long Family YMCA

Published 12:10 am Thursday, May 9, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

CLEMMONS — Phil Hanes has been a constant presence at the Clemmons Farmers Market since it opened in 2014.

So it was no surprise that he was on hand for the first pop-up event of the season that was held in conjunction with Clemmons Community Day in April.

“I’m still out here and have been since Day 1,” said the soft-spoken Hanes of the market.

Shannon Ford, marketing and communication director for the village of Clemmons, added that Hanes Farms is the only vendor who has been a part of the market, which serves as a gathering place for local farmers, producers, bakers and makers to connect and serve their community and share their passions, every year.

“He has a large and loyal following producing quality produce year after year,” Ford said. “Phil is a man of few words. He may be the nicest and kindest-hearted human I have ever encountered.”

Hanes, who maintains a farm just west of Lexington, said that he grows everything outside “but starts things in a greenhouse house, and then I set them outside. It’s been a little bit slower this year.” 

The broccoli and onions weren’t ready in April, but he expects to have them in May. That happens to be this Saturday, the 11th, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. when the Clemmons Farmers Market officially opens for the 2024 season at the Jerry Long Family YMCA.

Hanes did have red and green lettuce, spinach, kale, radishes, sweet potatoes, and eggs for the pop-up event and said he looks forward to another good season.

Several customers were drawn to his huge sweet potatoes, which he said weighed close to three pounds. 

“Look at the size of this thing,” commented one lady checking out his booth.

Besides Hanes Farms, Ford said that Crescent Goodies and Mousavi Farm are probably next in line for being a part of the market for the most seasons.

There weren’t many vendors in those early years starting at Tanglewood Park and then after moving to Village Hall before finally partnering with the YMCA in 2020 where it has thrived ever since in a convenient location and a regular Saturday morning time slot.

In fact, the market had to close out the number of vendors before the new season even got started. Ford said that there are 60 vendors, including seasonal and dailies.

Along with many returnees from last year, Ford said there are some newcomers, including a knife sharpener.

“We have been asked for many years to bring a knife sharpener to the market,” she said. “We are so excited to have Dexter Ewing with Winston-Salem Knife Sharpening. We will be announcing prior to the weekends he will join us. He is on the lineup for May 11th and May 25th as of now.”

On May 25, the market will be hosting First Responder Appreciation Day, and Ewing will be offering one duty knife sharpened for free for any first responder who shows up at his table either in uniform or displaying appropriate ID (including active military or veterans).

Ford said that another noteworthy activity involving kids and their moms will be held Saturday on opening day just before Mother’s Day.

“It’s awesome to see our vendors to become such a part of the market that they not only volunteer but really want to do more for the market,” she said. “For example, Homegrown Bubbles approached us about a kids craft for Mother’s Day. They are providing all of the supplies. I can’t wait for everyone to come out and make their mom a card.”

The market, which runs through Sept. 28sets up every Saturday morning at the Jerry Long Family YMCA at 1150 S. Peace Haven Road in Clemmons (located in the open field at the intersection of S. Peace Haven Road and Jessie Village Drive).