Carl Flowers would come to the Owensboro Regional Farmers’ Market every weekend, strolling up and down the booths, picking out squash from one vendor and tomatoes from another. Shannon Hutton made it a habit to talk to him.
Over the years Hutton learned not only that blackberry jam was his favorite, but about his service in the Air Force, his wife and family, and to call him Carl, and not Mr. Flowers – that was his father’s name.
When Flowers wasn’t doing well, his daughter brought him to the market. He called Hutton over, and she got to share her appreciation for Flowers and say one last goodbye.
To the Huttons, it’s good produce, hard work, and meaningful moments like these that make the Owensboro Regional Farmers’ Market what it is today.
Shannon co-owns Jake’s Run Farm alongside her husband, Wes. The farm, which started out as a Community Supported Agriculture farm, is now celebrating its 10th year as a vendor at the market.
“We are a small family farm,” Shannon said. “We have about 15 acres where we raise lamb and grow lots of different fruits and berries. We sell lamb meat, homemade jams and jellies, crocheted items, and produce of course.”
While Wes tends to the gardens and livestock, Shannon makes all of the products. With both the Huttons working full time jobs, running the farm requires long hours.
“When he gets off of work, he comes home and feeds the sheep, does the watering, and whatever he needs to do in the garden,” Shannon said. “After a long day, I will spend 3-4 hours making (different things). With the farmers’ market we both work at least 6 days a week.”
Shannon, who also serves as president of the market board of directors, said that many don’t realize what the vendors put in to make the market possible.
“I’ve been doing the market for 10 years, so it’s just a way of life,” Shannon said. “Once it starts, we get up early on Saturday and we’re there by 6:15 in the morning. A lot of the customers don’t realize how early the vendors get there.”
Although the hours are long, the market makes it all worth it.
“Once I get there, I set up, the whistle blows, and people start coming – it’s just fabulous,” Shannon said. “It’s an experience like no other to be a vendor.”
Shannon also said the market offers a full experience for customers.
“This is not the place where you pick up your tomatoes and leave,” Shannon said. “This is the place you stroll around, you buy some juice from Crashuanya at Hart and Soul, you buy a breakfast sandwich from The Cottage, and you buy your dog a treat from Love My Pup.”
Shannon also noted that the market offers activities for children, musical entertainment, and events like the Holiday Market that people can find out more about on the market’s website.
Shannon ended by talking about the community and connections that the market builds, with tears coming to her eyes while reminiscing on more moments with Flowers.
“We build relationships with our customers – it’s not just a transaction, it’s a true interaction,” Shannon said. “(You see these people) on a weekly basis and they trust you to provide them with quality goods, services, and produce. Sometimes it’s a stranger who’s just in for the weekend, or somebody who’s lonely and they come to your booth and they just tell you their life story.”