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Pickles Farmers Market goes for that overseas feel

Posted on 8 Jun 2010 by Austin Light

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One week before I went to Pickles Farmers Market in NoDa, I was at the farmers market in Modena, Italy. My parents moved there a year ago for my dad’s job, and we were there to visit.

The market in Modena wasn’t your typical temporary, tent and stall kind of market. This was the real deal—butchers, bakers, farmers, all set up side by side in a huge building. The market was bustling with people, most of which depended on the local goods they bought. We hit a baker’s stall and my dad pointed to a number of tags that signified bundles for locals who bought the same goods every week—they were the valued customers, he told me. It was fun to see the regulars come up, rattle off some Italian and walk away with “the usual.”

So what’s all that have to do with Pickles? According to Cindy Hart, who co-owns Hart Witzen Gallery, the building housing the market on 36th Street, the lively feel of an overseas farmers market is what they’re aiming for with Pickles.

I’m a big world traveler, and those overseas markets are so fascinating,” Hart said. “I like the markets in France and Korea. They’re in the middle of town, and everyone goes to get everything they need.”

Hart told me the gallery location was temporary and that they’d like to make a permanent move to the building across the street, which she and her business partner, Clayton Venhuizen, also own.

Right now, it’s just on Saturdays, but eventually we’d like to make it an everyday thing, where regulars can have stalls with electricity and sell their goods to the community,” Hart said.

After an hour or so perusing the small, yet eclectic, mix of goods at Pickles, I’d say they’re on their way. There were people selling local fruits and veggies, salsa, coffee, beer, hand crafted bags and more.  Hart said by 9:30, one of the vendors sold all of his fruit and had to go get more.

There were still a lot of empty stalls in the room, but I don’t think it will stay that way for long. Vendors pay just $10 a week for a space, and Hart is actively recruiting more vendors through Facebook and the Pickles website.

Emma Wallace, the nice young woman who sold me a lovely hand-made owl stuffed with lavender and rice, said she usually sells her stuff online through etsy.com. Then she heard about Pickles through Facebook.

It was only $10 for a space and five more for a table, so I thought I’d come and give it a try,” Wallace said. “It’s going well so far.”

Pickles is open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.


  1. tPet 8 Jun 2010 at 10:59 AM

    Went there Saturday. It’s a fantastic large space, but I found the individual vendor setups a bit cramped. Most were using small card tables, so if more than one or two people were standing there, no one else could really get in and buy anything. I’m guessing there was some lost business there. Lighting was a bit dim too .. and made most of the wares look dull not very appetizing. Definitely some logistics to work on. But hey, for first time out of the shoot .. not bad at all.

    Still .. I’m very excited about the potential of this place and hope more vendors will join the fray and increase the variety of offerings. This can very quickly become a new Charlotte “hot spot” for all sorts of goodies. Here’s to hoping that comes true quickly.

  2. Penny 8 Jun 2010 at 3:39 PM

    Wow, that was interesting. Can’t wait to see it!