Meet the Vendor is a new blog series that will feature a Smithfied Farmers Market vendor throughout the 2023 Season. Join us as the market celebrates "the Year of the Farmer" and get to know these hard working, small business owners dedicated to bringing fresh local produce and specialty foods to the Smithfield and Isle of Wight community.
A Collective Effort, September 2023
Meet the talented mother/daughter duo behind “A Collective Effort,” now in their 10th year at the Smithfield Farmers Market. Vickie Wilson and Judy Eure began their business’ journey when their church hosted a fall bazaar and they decided to sell items there. The team specializes in hand-made wreaths, children's clothing, bibs, bows, aprons, diaper covers, and more.
Judy has been sewing, knitting, and crocheting since she was a child. Vickie created her first wreath as a favor for a friend. Today her popular wreaths are best-sellers at the market.
Because their items are all hand-made and each one can take quite a long time to create. For Vickie, depending on the design, it can take an hour to make a single wreath. As Judy explains, “We make multiple bibs and bows at one time, so it is difficult to say exactly how long it takes to make one. But quality handmade items take time, and we pride ourselves on selling a quality product. Our prices are not determined based on the time it took to make the item, but rather on the item itself.”
Their most popular items include burlap wreaths, hair bows, and baby bibs. The duo does take special orders and also make their items according to the season and holidays. “A Collective Effort” has awesome gift ideas for everyone, including when you want to treat yourself!
Judy and Vickie would like to say that they are very grateful for the opportunity to vend at the Smithfield Farmer’s Market for the last 10 years. “We cherish the relationships we have with the other established vendors at the market and are beyond grateful for our loyal customers.”
You can always find “A Collective Effort” in their usual spot next to Peanut City Candles, in the corner of the market. They also sell their products at Finley's General Store in Carrollton and participate as a vendor in several downtown Smithfield events.
Follow “A Collective Effort” on FaceBook @A Collective Effort.
RaEssence Shae Butter, July 2023
Meet Laura and John Atkins, owners of RaEssence Shea Butter. They have been a dedicated vendor with the Smithfield Farmers Market for 11 years. You can always find them in the corner of the Bank of Southside VA parking lot next to Main Street - under the shade of the trees there.
This lovely couple started their business several years ago when they lived in Colorado where the hot summers and extremely cold winters were causing their skin to become super dry and flaky. Nothing seemed to help - until they discovered shea butter!
They loved how the shea butter made their skin feel and how it lasted all day. In 2012 they moved to Virginia, retired from their jobs, and started RaEssence Shea Butter.
Laura and John make all their products right in their own home. Their top seller is the body butter which involves a double whip process that takes several hours so the Shea Butter will blend with the other oils to create their popular soft emollient cream.
Laura says, “Our biggest challenge was educating the public on the many benefits of Shea Butter. Shea Butter boosts skin moisture and anti-inflammatory properties, soothes skin problems, heals cuts and scrapes, and helps fight breakouts. Its antioxidants have anti-aging properties. It’s our goal to provide our customers with a valuable product that will put them on the Path to Natural Healthy Skin.”
RaEssence has an array of products including lotions, lip balm, deodorant, sugar scrubs, and so much more. They can even put together personalized gift baskets for men and women.
You can also find RaEssence products at Finleys General Store in Carrollton and they participate in other festivals and markets in the area.
You can follow RaEssence on FaceBook @RaEssence Shea Butter and check out their website at www.RaEssence.com.
Farm & Freeze, June 2023
Meet Farm & Freeze! They are a brand-new vendor at the Smithfield Farmers Market. Be sure to stop by their booth at the Market and give them a warm welcome.
Meet the Morris Family, Jonathan and Angela of Farm & Freeze. They have created a new produce business, but with a twist. They freeze dry some of their produce - and candy too!
"Our family has always been passionate about the environment and being sustainable. So, over the years, we have had large gardens and chickens and have focused on preserving food for the future by canning, dehydrating, and most recently freeze drying. "
They are just getting started but have already accomplished some big steps including purchasing a 24' by 36' high tunnel greenhouse.
They have also started growing microgreens, starter plants, and houseplants.
Farm & Freeze plans on bringing some not so typical fruits and veggies to the market including lemon squash, purple tomatoes, and more!
On the Freeze side of the farm, the couple plans on bringing freeze dried goodies including cheesecake, Nerds candies, Starbursts, fruits, and more exciting creations!
And talk about local produce...Farm & Freeze grows and freezes their produce in Smithfield, just 5 miles away from the market!
You can follow Farm & Freeze on FaceBook at Farm and Freeze and check out their website, www.farmandfreeze.com.
Make sure to sign up for their newsletter on their website to stay up to date with Farm & Freeze.
The Pink Box, June 2023
Due to her love for desserts and as a way to become her own boss, Gwendolyn Freeman’s dream was fulfilled when she opened The Pink Box, a family-owned cupcake and dessert bakery. This was also her way to spend more time with her children and leave a legacy for them.
The Pink Box opened their doors on Valentines Day of 2020 – just in time for the COVID pandemic but they persevered and made it through! The Pink Box Shop is located in Suffolk and the Freeman’s participate in events all around Coastal Virginia.
Whether you have a special order or are just passing by their shop, this family has the dessert for you – they offer over 100 cupcake flavors! And everything is homemade and with the freshest ingredients.
Their bestsellers are their gigantic cinnamon rolls, banana pudding, and their fresh lemonade.
The Pink Box also offers gift cards, new handmade apparel, and you can find them on Door Dash.
This will be Gwendolyn’s second year at the Smithfield Farmers Market, and you can find them each week against the fence line…just follow your sweet tooth. Kids and adults can go nuts at this booth so be sure to go early in case they sell out!
Be sure to check out the Pink Box’s website, ThePinkBoxSweets.com, follow them on Facebook and Instagram @ThePinkBox, or visit them at their shop at 5860 Harbour View Blvd. in Suffolk.
Hunger Shop, May2023
Hunger Shop was a brand new vendor at the Smithfield Farmers Market last year and will be returning again this season!
Meet the Team:
Owners, Andres Sandoval & David Francis and the Director of Operations, Katie Sandoval. The team says, "Hunger provides sauces, rubs, and merchandise inspired by the love of food, cooking, and being a smart ass."
Hunger was created in 2013 with the purpose to do something that the partners were passionate about, and to work for themselves.
Andres and David create all of the flavor profiles of the seasonings, sauces, and rubs in house, then everything is bottled either at Ashburn Sauce Company in Virginia Beach or Mayflower Commissary, also in Virginia Beach.
"The creation process goes from concept to ingredients to basic ratios to tested methods and then final adjustments."According to the team, creating their perfect blends can happen on the first try or of course, can take several tries. "We want everyone to know how flavor centric we are. Our only ulterior motive is to infuse people's lives with flavor." Hunger Shop has a seasoning, sauce or rub for everyone's palate. The most popular product is their Table Red Hot Sauce.
Hunger is always thinking outside the box and creating new things. Make sure to follow their social medias pages for new & exciting things including the opening of their own shop in the future!
Although they frequent markets all around the Hampton Roads area, they are also partnered with 2 restaurants: Quirks and Charly's Airport Restuarant.
"We are really proud to service the greater Hampton Roads area. We are from here, southside and the peninsula. We are proud to be Virginians and make Virginian products. Our variety of products are inspired by international, local, and everyday items. And as always, Have Fun with Food!" - The Hunger Shop Team
G & S Apiary and Breezy Hill Meadworks, April 2023
Meet sister companies, G & S Apiary and Breezy Hill Meadworks (formerly Serendipity Meadworks)! They have been coming to the market since 2010 with their mead and honey. You can usually find them in the corner of the parking lot next to Cedar Street!
Meet the Team:
The team consists of Adam Hofman, Duane Eby, Ed & Jane Schweiger, Gary Godsinski, Jessie Pangrac, Lisa & Robert Bright, and Samuel Sayampanathan.
Adam helps out with everything in the business including production, sales, etc. Duane helps with production and farmers markets. Ed is the company manager and master mead maker. Jane is the creative artist making soaps, candles, etc. Jessie is involved with the marketing and creating on-site attractions. Lisa is also in marketing, taking care of the hives, and helping around the business. Robert takes care of the farmers markets. Samuel is in charge of social media. and Gary is the primary beekeeper of around 80 hives.
The company began in 1978 when Ed his first homebrew shop in his home in Kentucky after legislation was passed that legalized the production of homebrew and home wine making in all of the United States, except Alabama and Mississippi in 1976.
After graduating from college, Ed moved to Newport News and created the first batch of mead that was inspired by a fellow home brewing enthusiast (who also was an avid Beowulf and J.R.R. Tolkien fan) in July of 1989.
In 1995 Ed bought the farm where everything is made today, but it wasn't until 2004 that himself and Jane built the farm. When building the farm, a dead tree was cut down and when it fell the sky above them filled with all of the bees that lived inside the tree. The following January, Ed got a beekeeping suit and hive and gave beekeeping a whirl.
From there the business was booming enough to build a 3600 sq foot honey house.
The companies offer an array of products created from their homegrown honey. They offer about 13 different kinds of mead which you can taste at the Smithfield Farmers Market and at their tasting room at their farm located at 15981 Breezy Hill Lane in Smithfield. Their mead can also be purchased online on their website, www.serendipitymeadworks.com
They also have products made from the wax collected from the hives including candles and soaps as well as bottles of honey and honey sticks. Jane also creates honey and bee inspired stained glass pieces and other unique items.
Check them out on Facebook at Breezy Hill Meadworks and at G & S Apiary, Inc.
Breezy Hill Meadworks is located at 15981 Breezy Hill Lane in Smithfied.