Thursday, September 3, 2009

This Week's Featured Market Vendors

Familiar faces at the Botetourt Farmers' Market are Earl and Linda Ruggles, who sell seasonal produce, home canned goods, freshly-baked breads and handmade aprons and woodcrafts. Linda Ruggles comes from a family of 15 with parents who always had a garden and canned what they grew. Earl was raised in a gardening and canning family too. They've been married for 36 years and, not surprisingly, have been gardening for nearly that long. They find that working in the garden together gives them a chance to talk about what has happened during the day, to solve all kinds of problems and to share a good laugh.

The Ruggles joined the Botetourt Family Farmers at its inception and began selling at the first market with apple butter, baked goods and herbs. They have continued to expand their offerings and arrive early at the Farmers' Market, which is held each Saturday from 8am-1pm (or sell-out) in the parking lot of Ikenberry's on US 220 north of Daleville. Linda now has a USDA-inspected food license which allows her to sell in other businesses as well. She orders grains such as rye, barley, kamut, and spelt to mill into flour at home. She bakes specialty breads using local eggs and produce for sale at the market and, after the market ends in October, by special order at her home. Linda and Earl can be reached at 992-4579 or by email:

Although this year's garden started out well, the Ruggles have been challenged by deer, ground hogs, and too-plentiful rain. In addition, they've had to travel due to the illness and death of loved ones. Still, with the incurable optimism of true gardeners, they've returned to the garden and market, willing to use what they have available and planning for an even better garden next year. Linda describes the Farmers' Market as vital to our community, benefitting both the vendors and those wishing to purchase fresh produce, local meats, unique items like soaps and candles, home-canned fruits and vegetables and specialty baked goods. She adds: "The market is also a fantastic meeting place for all of us to get to know each other and become neighbors and friends!"

No comments: