The Sicilian eggplant was the first thing to go at the opening night of the Hammonton Farmer's Market, an evening full of music, art and food with an Italian twist.
The second, and more formal, year of the event started at 4 p.m. Friday, and a band played between a blueberry pie contest near several booths of veggies and civic groups.
The event was intended to bring out new people to the downtown, and by all indications it succeeded - even drawing visitors from dozens of miles away.
"It's nice over here," said Joyce Hogan, of Mount Royal in East Greenwich Township, Gloucester County. "It's the little small town feel."
"These blueberries are beautiful," said Cathleen Engelsen, of Surf City, an artist who has art displayed at Casicano Coffee Bar & Sweatery.
Vendors in attendance said business was steady and they sold out of their big items quickly.
"The greens catch the eye, but people walk and buy the other cool stuff," said Pete Singley, 25, of Egg Harbor City, manning the Wuillerman and Flaim booth.
The event at Front Street and Bellevue Avenue was not packed with vendors this time, but organizers said there should be several more next Friday and for the following Fridays throughout the summer.
Celeste Safeer, manager of the market, said more booths will be at the patio-like area next to the train tracks this
Safeer said Susquehanna Bank and Action Auto Body also helped support the event, which featured a blueberry pie contest.
"It was the combination of filling and crust," Safeer said, describing the winning pie.
Darrol Wilson, of Mullica Hill, Gloucester County, won the pie contest, bringing out a piece from the Sweet Life Bakery in Vineland and defeating four other contestants.
Wilson's daughter-in-law made the pie, and the Sweet Life will host a booth throughout the summer.
"If you think that's good, wait until fall, because she makes a killer apple pie," Wilson said.
Next Friday night, the organizers will bring out the town's oldest Vietnam War veteran for their Fourth of July celebration. They also hope to see more people wandering into the downtown to get some locally grown goods.
"That's what it's all about," said Cassie Iacovelli, executive director of Main Street Hammonton. "How do you get your local produce conveniently?"
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