Lynn Haven's Farmers' Market Offers Haven for Variety

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LYNN HAVEN-- "One thing about farmers' markets. You can't predict 'em. They're just unpredictable." That's according to Richard Johnson, one of the locals you're likely to find at the market every Tuesday.

His favorite selection to sell includes cucumbers and squash. But this week, it's a variety of plants, unloaded from the back of his pickup.

"Citrus trees, grapevines, pomegranate," he lists.

Lynn Haven's Tuesday farmers' market has become a haven of sorts for farmers and bakers and furniture makers.

"Most of the people I know here depend on this farmers market for a major part of their income," Harrison said.

For him, the only constant at the market is change.

"Last week we almost got blown away by the wind. We had to hang onto our tents last week. But that's you know it was fun, different. But it's okay, we like it, if we didn't we'd stay at home."

Staying at home was not an option for his market neighbor, Tesha Trotman.

She recently moved to Bay County from Minnesota. Her husband's military career has kept the family moving, but she said this move was a little harder than the last.

"When we got here, I was just kinda looking and looking for something," Trotman said. "And I just started to bake."

Maker her pies, cakes and cookies comforted Trotman in an unfamiliar place. But the confections clutered her kitchen, and opportunity knocked.

"And then I sent things with him to his job," said Trotman. "And everybody was like, oh this is so good. You should go to the farmer's market."

Trotman decided to throw her eggs into her business basket called Tesha's Comfort Treats. "'When you want a comforting treat!'" she said. "That's my slogan."

"I love it, I love just being out here talking with the people. Talking about my sweet breads. Telling people this is a guilt free zone. We don't talk about calories we just want to enjoy ourselves!"

Her son, Nehemiah, dutifully sat by her side during the warm, summer days.

"She does a lot of time on her cooking," he said. "She usually spends all of her nights, you know, working. Or if she's not baking, she'll just come up wtih ideas or go online, start promoting business."

His mom said they spend even more time together at the market than they do at home.

"I think it's even more rewarding you know, getting to know him," she said. "It's bringing families even closer."

Family is the glue, stickier than honey, that has allowed Critter's Bees and Things to blossom.

"My dad put some bees in my hand," said nine-year-old Critter Southerland. "And I started falling in love with it."

Critter's market set-up includes a white card table featuring a selection of her latest honey, separated by flavor. With her father by her side, Critter proudly tells shoppers, "We do not process it. Plus we don't flavor it, but we wanna keep it it's own natural flavor."

Critter said she has been selling her honey ever since she was old enough to reach the hive.

"I start doing my own hives and I only came up with one new type," she said. "And I start working it, working it and working it and I started loving it, so I made my own honey and say dad can we sell it."

Critter spends some of her time at the market working the crows, and spends the rest at play. But her dad insisted, the business is hers.

"Would you like my business card?" she asked onlookers.

While going to market is a source of economic income, for many of the vendors it's not just the power of the purse that keeps them coming.

"We don't go at each other tooth and nail or anything," Harrison said. "Because we all know we're kind of on the same boat together and, you know, we need to get along."

"You can't get not better than locally grown, locally made. You feel like you're exclusive, it's just for you," Trotman said. "You know, that's what makes it special."

The Lynn Haven Farmers' Market is hosted at Sheffield Park in Lynn Haven. You can find vendors there every week from 11 a.m. until dusk.