Lenny’s Market offers fresh, summertime bounty

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, July 19, 2017

By Leila Case

AMERICUS — Lenny’s Market, the city’s farmers market, was a beehive of activity as folks from near and far arrived to load up on fresh fruits and vegetables last Saturday morning, some arriving as early as 7 o’clock.
And the scene was repeated Tuesday evening as shoppers, many on their way home from work, stopped by the Hampton Street market downtown to purchase summer’s bounty straight from the farm to the market.
Farm fresh produce is plentiful as this is the peak growing season, and local vendors at Lenny’s Market offer a wide mixture of produce displayed from the back of pickup trucks or attractively spread out on tables.

Donna Jones displays watermelons, herbs and spaghetti squash grown in
her garden in the Concord community.

Patrick Kay, Americus Main Street director, says the city issued 15 permits to vendors this year but on this particular day there were about half that many. Market hours are 7 a.m.-noon Saturdays and 5-8 p.m. Tuesdays. “Tuesday’s evening hours have been well-received,” said Kay. “This is the first year to open in the evening and because of the successful sales at that time we plan to have it again next year.”
Lenny’s shoppers have their pick of the best in ruby red tomatoes in numerous varieties and golden summer squash; emerald green watermelons just waiting to be cut keep company with golden spaghetti squash and fresh herbs, and there are of course, tiny shelled cream peas, butter beans, purple hull and black-eyed peas. There is even a table of raw honey, and a beautiful display of scented soap and sparkling jewelry.

Diane Harrison, left, and her husband, Tom Harrison, buy scented soap
from crafter Colleen Whitman.

Market patrons on this particular hot and humid Saturday morning are buying some of it all.
Among them are Nancy Harvey of Americus, one of the most faithful shoppers at Lenny’s Market, who says tomatoes are her summer mainstay, and that she likes them so much she even eats a tomato for a mid-afternoon snack. “I bought something from everyone today and I really enjoy getting to know these vendors.”

Tara Jensen, left, bags specialty tomatoes for Rita Timmerman.

Patti Thornhill, left, of Millpond Honey, sells Jenn O’Rourke a jar of raw
6 Edward, left

Edward, left, and Jenny Greene show some of the fresh produce they raise on
their farm.

Jenn O’Rourke of Americus, another dedicated Lenny’s shopper, decided on a jar of Mill Pond honey produced by Worth County residents Mark and Patti Thornhill on their property in Oakland, Georgia. Mark is the beekeeper. Patti explains their all-filtered raw honey, the healthiest honey, comes from a chemical-free apiary. “We have seasonal honey — wildflower and tupelo — along with cream honey that is available year-round.” The cream honey is good to spread on hot biscuits, pancakes or toast and comes in different flavors; their most popular is cinnamon. “We’re in the process of adding more flavors,” says Patti.
Edward and Jenny Greene of Leslie, among the most dedicated vendors at Lenny’s, were enjoying a brisk business. They offer a wide selection of seasonal vegetables and fruits as well as thick cane syrup made from sugar cane grown on their farm.
Customers were snapping up ripe tomatoes from vendors Todd and Tara Jensen, who grow 12 varieties on their Leslie farm. Among the favorites flying off their table were the Heirloom and Ponderosa, a sweet, yellow tomato, along with a couple of kinds of potatoes and onions. This fall they plan to have broccoli again as well as Brussel sprouts and winter squash.
And Charlie and Yvonne Satterfield were doing a huge business selling shelled peas grown by their son, Brad Satterfield, on property in Wilcox County.
Tom and Dianne Harrison of Americus were buying scented soap made by Colleen Whitman, who also had a large display of pretty jewelry she makes along with gift baskets, and artwork. “I make everything you can think of,” she says with a smile, handing the Harrisons’ prettily wrapped purchase to them in a unique gift bag.
While across the way, Donna Jones was selling ripe watermelons from her garden in the Concord community of Sumter County as well as herbs and spaghetti squash. “I enjoy gardening,” says Jones. “It’s my pastime and I love it; however, the pesky weeks seem to grow faster than the vegetables and fruit. There is always something to do in the garden.”