Jana Messer was hoping for a hot, sunny, 90 degree day Saturday in Rogersville to help generate more thirst for the organically blended ice tea she was selling at the annual Fall Venders Market at Farmhouse in the Valley.
Instead it was unseasonable cool and rained most of the day. But, that’s the life of an artisan fair vender. Some days it rains.
Her one saving grace was being strategically located near the Braeden’s Barbecue tent where they were serving hamburgers, hot dogs, chili, beans and homemade chips. Although the hot sun wasn’t there to generate a thirst, the hot burgers and beans were.
Messer owns and operates the Surgoinsville based “Teas and Bees” Organic blended Teas. Not only does Messer’s tea help wash down barbecue, it’s also very healthy.
“These are teas that I grow the herbs, or forage for the herbs, or buy from a botanical company that I really trust,” Messer told the Review. “I blend them together, and most of my teas are medicinal, meaning that there’s something about the teas that will enhance or help with your health and wellness. Today what I have is some Herbal Chai. I have Apple Spice. Those two are my favorite, but we have some other ones that are immunity building. I have some that will give you a great night’s sleep.”
She also sells local honey which is one of the best immunity builders the Mother Nature has to offer.
“It is wonderful for you,” Messer said. “Our bees are from a local farm, and they grow the best honey around.”
If you want to learn more about Messer’s medicinal teas you can visit her website at www.teasandbees.net
In the tent beside Teas and Bees was pumpkin grower Sam Vannoy from Tarpine Valley who was selling real pumpkins, and Diane Sexton, who was selling decorative stuffed pumpkin made of cloth, and real pumpkin stems.
One of Sexton’s selling points is that, unlike Vannoy’s, her pumpkins don’t eventually rot.
“You can use them again next year,” she said.
Although they have an expiration date, Vannoy’s real pumpkins are so flawless in their prime that they almost look artificial. He grows about 15 different varieties of pumpkins on about three acres which to date has produced more than 700 pumpkins.
Some are good for pie-making, but most are decorative.
As with Teas and Bees, the weather wasn’t helping with pumpkin sales Saturday. But, Vannoy said he hopes to haul a trailer full of pumpkins to Clinch Valley for the “12 mile Yard Sale” on Oct. 1.
Teacup bird houses
Knoxville artist Rhonda Parolari collects teapots which she turns into birdhouses. They double as planters for people who don’t want to put them outside, but they’re built to endure the outdoors.
Generally the the teapots have a little roof built over them, and are mounted on a board with the spout pointing down into a cup which can be used for birdseed.
“We go everywhere to find teapots,” she said. “We actually went to Elizabethton yesterday (Friday) and picked up 24 more. I have what I call my ‘Teapot Fairy’ and she looks out for me all the time. People in the Tri-Cities apparently love teapots, so we go there a lot, but we go all over the U.S. to find them.”
Parolari is also making birdhouses out of cookie jars, which are more like bird mansions. Anyone interest in learning more about Parolari’s birdhouses can look up her Facebook page “Reloved Creations”.
‘Anybody can do it’
Robin Hillman teaches art classes at Farmhouse in the Valley, but on Saturday she was personalizing her Fall-themed creations for customers. One of the favorites was a painted pumpkin welcome sign.
“When you see the whole piece, it’s almost like ‘Oh my gosh I could never do that’, but anybody can do it,” Hillman said. “I just break it down, and it depends on the brushes. I tell you what brush. You show up at class and everything is sitting on the table. You just sit down and start painting.”
For more information about Hillman’s classes visit the Farmhouse in the Valley Facebook page.
‘A tremendous response’
Farmhouse in the Valley is a 1880s farmhouse on Carters Valley Road near the Highway 11-W intersection owned by Bret and Tammy Kunselman.
Every year they host a venders market in the spring and the fall where artists post tents throughout the property and sell their creations. There are also about 20 permanent consignment venders inside the Farmhouse which is open every Saturday for shopping 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We have these Market Days twice a year, and we have the venders from all over,” Tammy Kunselman said. “There are a lot of local people, (East Tennessee) area people, and then we have some from different states. We just appreciate all of the support this community has given to our venders today. In the midst of the little drizzles and drops we have had a tremendous response.”
Kunselman said she hopes to make an announcement soon about Christmas event at the Farmhouse.