This month we are going back to revisit our most popular blog, as measured in the number of distinct views on our website, from last summer’s Market season. It’s the ladies of Feathered who will be back in force at this Sunday’s Winter Market inside the Bridgeport Conference Center from 11am to 2pm.
Before we get there I want to get you up-to-date with a couple of recent events that the Market has gotten involved in. First, thanks to Josh Halstead of the Halstead Insurance Agency, which recently relocated to new digs on Main St in Bridgeport, we have a unique BFM fundraiser. For every insurance quote that Josh writes this year he is donating $25 to the BFM! You don’t even have to buy the insurance, just get the quote. Give Josh a call today at 304-848-9110 or stop and see him at 237 East Main St in downtown Bridgeport.
Lastly, the BFM is taking its success to the fabled Country Roads of WV. Recently, founder Deb Workman and Board President Kent Spellman headed up a panel discussion for the WV Hospitality and Travel Association‘s annual Hospitality University which was held at the Greenbrier last month. Deb and Kent put together a panel of professionals that included local chef/farmer and Appalachian foods expert Mike Costello, the founder and owner of Lewisburg’s Hawk Knob Cidery Josh Bennett, and James Beard award-winning chef and soon-to-be-owner of three restaurants in the Bristol, VA, area Travis Milton.
The topic of the panel was how to promote the history and culture of Appalachia in general and its food traditions in particular in order to best appeal to the new age of tourists who, like us, are interested in such things. It’s taking the ideas that have been cultivated at the BFM for the last nine years and pushing them out state-wide. Needless to say, there was plenty of interest in the topic judging by both the quality and quantity of questions that were asked during the Q&A session. It was also one of the best attended panels of the entire conference which also included speeches from our new Governor Jim Justice as well as our new Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher and new Tourism director Chelsea Ruby.
And now let’s hear what Quinn and Shalayna had to say last June!
We Don’t Cook: 6 Reasons the BFM is a Godsend for the Culinarily Challenged
It’s 5:30pm, and I’m just about to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when a familiar text comes across my phone.
It’s my cousin and Feathered business partner Shalayna, who lives 400 feet up the street.
“Starving!! What did Adam make us?”
“Omg…a tortellini in white wine sauce with garlic chicken. You’ve got to come have some.”
Hi, we are Shalayna and Quinn of Feathered, and we don’t cook.
Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City once said, “I keep sweaters in my stove.” While we haven’t taken it that far, we won’t deny that we both transformed the third bedrooms of our homes into walk-in closets. It’s not that we aren’t interested in learning to cook- it’s just that in addition to our full-time day jobs and running Feathered, other projects have taken precedence. My main reason has been that I haven’t had a kitchen since I started remodeling my 1920s-era home and the kitchen is the last room to go. Shalayna’s reason for not taking up cooking? Well, her husband Adam does such a wonderful job, and we wouldn’t want to take that away from him now, would we? But in all seriousness, he has owned that passion, and she’d much rather spend her evenings learning about dinosaurs with her son. I’m sure Austin has a great new story about a stegosaurus or triceratops to share.
Shalayna and I set up Feathered at the Bridgeport Farmers Market on select Sundays throughout the summer. Now ranked #1 in the state, the market draws about 1,000 people every Sunday from all walks of life. Amid the sound of acoustic music, we see couples walking hand in hand, families with strollers straight from church, girlfriends laughing, and singles with dogs. After the rush of setting up our booth is done, we take turns meandering around the Farmers Market between customers. We always knew the market was a great atmosphere for Feathered, but we didn’t realize just how much it had to offer.
If you don’t cook and think the farmers market just isn’t your thing, here are 6 reasons you’ll love the BFM:
#1 – The Fabulously Descriptive Live Chef Demos
At noon, a small crowd gathers around the demo tent to watch a guest chef create a dish with local ingredients from the farmers. Free. Live. Local. It’s like Pinterest in real life. Shalayna and I have been inspired to buy all the ingredients ourselves to make the local dish for dinner that evening. It’s especially helpful that they provide a take home cheat sheet.
L-R: Chefs Tarik Kalwar and Ted Hastings at last week’s chef’s demo; Chefs regularly provide a recipe to either take home or snap a photo of
# 2- The Freshest Organic Smoothie Ingredients in NCWV
Smoothies are a non-cook’s best friend. You just throw a bunch of super food ingredients in a blender and BAM- a liquid meal you can feel good about. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own, visit Rus Ruppert, That Smoothie Guy. When Rus isn’t strumming under the music tent, he’s concocting up blissfully delicious organic smoothies at the market.
#3- The BFM is Bridgeport’s best kept Sunday brunch secret
The market runs from 10:00am-2:00pm, which is the perfect time for BRUNCH. Let us just say, the food is- unbelievable. All week, we look forward to the loaded premium bagels from West Virginia OO Bagel Company, the garlic parmesan fries from Thyme Bistro, and the specialty omelets from the Bridgeport Conference Center. And Hashbrowns and New Grounds, Foggy Dale Café, and My Little Cupcake bring food trucks that totally give the market an Austin, Texas vibe. It’s a refreshing break from all the chain restaurants in the area to shake up your Sunday lunch plans.
Clockwise from top left: Hashbrowns and New Grounds Food Truck; Shoppers take a break under the brunch tent; The Bridgeport Conference Center is a brunch staple; Thyme Bistro brings flavor from their Weston cafe to the market; My Little Cupcake has developed a local cult following
#4- The BFM has the perfect tools if you want to get started cooking
Raw and organic doesn’t have to mean ‘from scratch’. Mountain Momma Organics is known for their best-selling soup kits. These bags contain a base with all the nutritious goods you need, and you can add your own flair from there. They also have build your own granola bars available for pre-order & pickup at the market. This is a popular concept that is really catching on- you’ll see other vendors that provide starter kits for anything from baked goods to dressings.
Clockwise from left: Mountain Momma Organics has a massive booth that spans two tents; Mountain Momma’s Soup Kits; and their Build Your Own Granola Bars
#5- The BFM is the best place to start your meal planning for the week
The timing of the market fits in great with your meal planning at the beginning of the week. If you start at the BFM, you can pick up all of your locally grown, organic fruits, veggies, meats and eggs. All you have to do is simply supplement the ingredients you couldn’t find at the BFM with a stop at your local grocer on the way home. Truth be told, as the season progresses you’ll find your grocery store shopping list getting shorter and shorter!
#6- When in doubt, shop the artisans
If you just can’t get into the food aspect of the market luckily there is plenty of guilt free shopping available. Local artisans make up about 15% of the market’s 50+ vendors. You can shop everything from handmade cutting boards at Z&Z Woodcrafters to handmade soaps from House on the Hill Soap Co. to pressed flower jewelry at The Pretty Pickle. Oh yeah, and vintage clothing at Feathered.
For two non-cooks, we find plenty of excitement and inspiration every Sunday at the Bridgeport Farmers Market. Visit all summer long on Sundays from 10am to 2pm on Jerry Dove Drive.
<3, Quinn & Shalayna