Lots of familiar faces and several new vendors turned out Saturday for the opening of the Ridge Ferry Park Farmers Market

Eric Knutsen has been selling candied nuts at the market for five years through his business called Sweets on a Mission. Money he makes from the sale of his candied pecans and other nuts goes to finance mission work.

Knutsen said he was not able to make a mission trip in 2020 because of the pandemic but in 2019, his sales financed a trip to Colombia and helped supply an indigenous Wayuu culture school in a northern desert region of Colombia.

Rome native Marti Walstad was one of the first time vendors at the market Saturday with her Quail at Cotswold.

“You don’t have them out in the wild like you used to,” Walstad said of the quail. “Now we’ve got the whistling (of the quail), we’ve got the eggs, so I thought ‘Let’s go to the Farmer’s Market.’ We’re having fun.”

Romans Debbie and Kyle Williams were also first time vendors, with a combination of wall decor, handmade jewelry and fresh hand-ground coffee.

Debbie Williams said they found some unique coffees while shopping around Amazon and brought four varieties to the market. A donut flavored coffee was one of the favorites Saturday. They offered both hot and cold drinks.

Terri Trew and her floral arrangements have been market favorites for several years. Trew said she got into growing flowers as a therapy for her PTSD after a tour of duty with the Marine Corps during combat in Beirut.

“I found a lot of peace in gardening,” Trew said “My pop had a tree farm in Loganville and I spent a lot of time there and I just got more and more into plants.”

She loves to grow tropical plants and brings varieties to the market that shoppers don’t generally find at the big box retail stores. She said that when people see them grown in soil native to the area, they can have some confidence that they’ll grow in the soil at their own homes.

The market, sponsored by Rome Floyd Parks and Recreation, will be held from 7-11 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday through Oct. 2 at the park on Riverside Parkway in Rome.

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