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Last stand: Longtime vendors maintain their spots as Clemmons Farmers Market prepares to close for the 2020 season on Saturday after thriving in the first year at Jerry Long Family YMCA

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

Phil Hanes has grown produce his whole life, but he never had anywhere to sell it.

So when the Clemmons Farmers Market came along in 2014, Hanes found the perfect place to set up shop.

“I’ve been here since it started,” said Hanes, who likes to grow all kinds of produce but sold it from his home in Lexington before branching out. “I had a bunch of collards one year and my brother-in-law suggested taking them to the (Winston-Salem) Fairgrounds to sell them. I’ve always enjoyed growing produce.”

When he found out Clemmons was opening a farmers market at Tanglewood, he gave it a try, and Hanes Farms has been a part of his weekly routine on Saturday mornings ever since.

“It’s a good location, and that has a lot to do with it, starting with Tanglewood and now at the Y,” Hanes said. “It’s been really good this year with a lot of variety and different vendors. It didn’t do as good when it was at Village Hall because of the location. I like these markets because they’re local.”

Hanes, who used to work for the state but has now retired, also likes taking his crop to the Mocksville Farmers Market.

“This time of the year is a little tougher,” he said. “I’ve got a few things left. I’ve got stuff coming along in the fall like kale, collards and greens to try to keep something coming all the time. I do all this myself.”

Crescent Goodies has been another regular at the Clemmons Farmers Market since Day 1. Teresa Swisher, who was raised in Advance and lives in Davie County, specializes in making all kinds of baked goods, including her popular sourdough bread, five-flavor pound cake and chocolate chip cookies.

Swisher, who has also participated in the Bermuda Run Farmers Market this year and has been at the Mocksville Farmers Markets in the past, has enjoyed the new Clemmons location this year beside the Jerry Long Family YMCA on Peace Haven Road.

“There’s a lot of traffic here,” Swisher said, “with a good location, a good number of vendors and good variety. You can get a little bit of everything here. All the variety gives us all a chance to have our products out there.”

And speaking of variety and products, perhaps no vendor has a more unique story than Mousavi Farm, which is located near Mocksville and has also been at the Clemmons Farmers Market since it got started.

While tending to what has been called a “Mom and Pop” farm, Mousavi Farm offers a wide range of products, including honey, lamb meat, chicken, turkey eggs and herbs along with veggies and fruits. Always looking to innovate, they serve mint iced tea, which has drawn rave reviews.

Ali Mousavi and Susan Sergeant do all this while staying busy with their demanding careers — Ali as a general contractor and beekeeper (who teaches in both areas and founded a beekeeper academy with locations in Winston-Salem and Kernersville), and Susan as a research scientist at Wake Forest School of Medicine).

“This is our relaxation,” Ali said during a recent Saturday morning at the market. “In order to take a break, this is our break. We love talking to people.”

Susan added, “We have lots of to-do lists and priorities. This is a good market with strong leadership, a good location and good people coming to the market.”

After getting its start at Tanglewood six years ago, the Clemmons Farmers Market eventually moved to Village Hall for a couple of years before making the shift to a more desirable location in 2020.

“I want to put in a plug for Shannon,” Susan said of Shannon Ford, the longtime marketing/communication director for the village who became the new market manager this year and helped orchestrate the move to the Y. “She is the savior of this market in bringing it here.”

The market, which opens Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. for the final time this season, has averaged 16 to 20 vendors and 300 customers each week in 2020.

“The farmers market is truly a special place,” Ford said. “These vendors have become a family that supports one another.”