By Paula Walter
The Johnson County Farmer’s Market was in full swing as fresh produce of all types was available from local growers this past weekend. Not only were delicious foods and local crafts available for purchase, but shoppers were entertained by the Tator Hill Mashers from Boone.
The band, who play old-time music, first began when the Coatney and Burnett family met at church.
The older children, Henry Coatney and Sophia Burnett, now both 12 years old, took music lessons together and soon their younger siblings, Anneli Burnett and Wesley Coatney, along with Asa Nelson, joined in and formed a band, calling themselves the Tator Hill Mashers. The children come from families who have older brothers and sisters who are also very musically inclined, and forming their own band wasn’t too much of a stretch of the imagination for them. They play guitar, banjo, fiddle and upright bass.
Although the group has just been together since last fall, they played last year at the Old-Time Fiddlers Convention in Laurel Bloomery last year. Not only did they play, but they took first place as a group. They have also entertained at events in Galax in Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
According to Mindy Coatney, they practice several hours a week on their own, in addition to group practices. “Not many in this generation play this kind of music,” said Coatney. Old time music is a particular type of American folk music that was believed to have been brought to this country from England, Scotland, Ireland and Africa. Some refer to it as real mountain folk music.
These young musicians also take place in Junior Appalachian Musicians, also known as JAM, whose purpose to provide communities the support needed to teach children to dance and play old time and blue grass music. Children are taught how to play traditional mountain music by ear rather than reading music.
Market goodies for this week include red and black raspberries, beets, kohlrabi, new potatoes, kale, Swiss chard, summer squash, zucchini, lettuce, green onions, and select herbs. Greiber Farms, of Shady Valley, have been at the local farmers market for approximately three years. This week they offered cucumbers of all types, including pickling, Beit and Jackson Supreme. They had potatoes, summer squash, and striped zucchini. For tomato lovers, be assured they should be coming in soon.
For those who came in search of delicious foods, there was grass fed beef, pasture raised chicken eggs, homemade jellies, jams, BBQ sauce, fresh baked breads, pepperoni rolls, along with scrumptious treats of lemon and chocolate filled croissants, cookies, triple chocolate mousse tort, lemon and raspberry tarts, gluten free baking mixes, organic granola and homemade fudge, among other tasty choices.
There were also a variety of native plants, jewelry, soap, stained glass, painted posts and many other hand crafted items. Miss Sweetpea Scrubs and Salts from Trade had a selection of lip balm, sugar scrubs and bath salts, along with beard oil for those wanting a little bit of pampering. Vonnie Smith, of Wintergreen Farms, had five varieties of rudbeckias that she started from seed. Smith first started growing these cheerful flowers for the Sunflower Festival. It’s not unusual to see Smith around town tending to the flowers along Main Street.
The farmer’s market is located at the Johnson County Courthouse parking lot across from the post office in downtown Mountain City. They are open every Saturday from 9:00 am until noon.