Crozet Farmers’ Market Gets Stronger

Sharon Smith and her goat cheese at the Crozet Farmers’ Market.
Sharon Smith and her goat cheese at the Crozet Farmers’ Market.

The Crozet farmers’ market, held from 8 a.m. until noon in the parking lot of Crozet United Methodist Church, is doing well, reports market manager Al Minutolo.

“We had a good Memorial Day,” said Minutolo, who sells fresh flower arrangements at the market. “We have a good variety of vendors and we expect more to come in as vegetables come on, things like cucumbers and tomatoes.”

New to the market this season is Sharon Smith of Boonesville, who is offering three types of goat cheese she is making at home under strict sanitary conditions, a crumble type, yogurt and a cheese called quark (like the subatomic particle), a mild spreadable cheese popular in Europe. One week she brought one of her 10 Alpine goats with her to the market. She is currently milking three of them and looking forward to a break from the twice-a-day chore when September gets here. She brings the cheese she can make in one week to market in a cooler and so far has sold out every week. “It goes for $3 per half cup, or about ¼ ounce. “That’s better than in a store,” she said. “It’s a reasonable price.” She is pleased to have so many repeat customers already. “It’s been fun,” she said.

“Her cheese is awesome!” volunteered John Watts, a vendor nearby.

Smith’s goats started out as just pets. She lost several to a bear who had become predatory and had to be captured and moved by the forest service.

A regular at the market these days is Jerry Reid, 67, who moved to Crozet two years ago from Richmond when he retired—he still works part-time for his old company—and enrolled at U.Va. as an undergraduate. This year he is joining Chi Phi Alpha fraternity and participating in all their events. When he was young, he had a friend who was in Chi Phi at U.Va and he would come up for fraternity parties. He met his wife at one. Reid never bothered about college for himself back then.

Jerry Reid, U.Va. undergrad and Crozet market regular.
Jerry Reid, U.Va. undergrad and Crozet market regular.

“I get into the student section at games,” said Reid happily. “The key thing is, I am accepted on face value.” He is also in the venerable Jefferson Debating Society. He’s taking three courses now and expects to graduate in 2013. “One of my advisors said, ‘Mr. Reid will not allow anything to prevent him from getting a true undergraduate experience,” he recalled with a laugh.

“It’s a dream come true,” he said. He went to a community college to earn 53 credits before coming to U.Va. He is a humanities major with no more math or science requirements left to fulfill. His longer-term goal is to teach creative writing and he means to go for an MFA once he graduates.

“My other fraternity brothers tell me I’m a 20-year-old with 47 years of very useful experience.” He said he is often asked for fatherly advice and sometimes when a question is asked in class, other students will turn and look at him, expecting him to have something to say because of his age.

“I am completely humbled by this experience,” said Reid. “I know I’ve inspired three other people to go back to school. I want to be able to teach one person to write creatively who didn’t think they could.”