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A century ago, growing vegetables for the market was not the multi-million dollar industry that it is today in Henderson County. Farmers that raised perishable vegetables or “truck crops” had only a limited market. Several times a week, if a farmer did not live too far from Hendersonville, he would bring hes vegetables to town in a buggy wagon and occasionally in a Model T Ford.
The farmer would drive up and down the streets of Hendersonville knocking on doors of the homes, boarding houses and hotels. He tried to sell vegetables, live chickens, sweet milk and buttermilk, butter and eggs. It was a slow, tiresome process, difficult and time-consuming way to market produce. It was called “peddling” in those days. At the end of the day the farmer would stop at the grocery store and trade what he had left for coffee, sugar, tea and other needed groceries.
Mr. Frank Fitzsimmons, Sr., a young farmer in the early twenties, wrote a letter to the editor of the “Hendersonville News” in which he advocated establishing a central place where Henderson County farmers could bring their products and offer them for sale. Mr. Fitzsimmons had seen these so-called Curb Markets in Europe during World War I.
The idea “caught on” and under the leadership of Mr. Noah Hollowell, newspaper editor, and others, the farmers worked out a plan with the city to allow for selling on a vacant lot. The Curb Market began in June, 1924 with eight sellers displaying their products.
In 1926 the sellers were able to move into a new building on King Street. As the market grew in popularity it became necessary to build a larger building in the 1930’s on Church Street that was replaced in 1955 by the present brick building.
The Curb Market is a Farmers Cooperative that is managed by an elected Board of Control.