Carolyn Gustafson carefully navigated a cart filled with farm fresh goodies Saturday morning, weaving in and out of hundreds of people on a mission for all things local.
It was opening day of the outdoor portion of the Freight House Farmers Market in Davenport, and, like the rest of the market-goers, the East Moline woman meant business.
She had collected a lettuce plant, three tomato plants, pasta, pecan rolls, onions and lanterns for her fence and was "still going."
Ms. Gustafson frequents the outdoor market weekly throughout the summer and the indoor market throughout the winter. She runs Crazy Babies Daycare in East Moline, and she aims to provide the kids with as much organic food as she can, she said.
She definitely was excited for opening day and the outdoor market in general. "I wouldn't miss it for the world," she said. "I would come rain or shine."
The market buzzed with people, music and the smell of fresh flowers. Some walked alone or with families, with kids and with dogs, pulling wagons, pushing strollers and carrying bags filled to the brim with local treats.
The parking lot at Modern Woodmen Park was full, and cars spilled over onto nearby streets and the lot just west of the stadium beneath the Centennial Bridge.
Janelle and Ken Bennett, of Davenport, wandered through the market, happily walking their dog, Romeo.
"It's great," Ms. Bennett said.
Mr. Bennett said it also was nice to get Romeo out of the house so he could socialize.
The two will frequent the market about three times a month, Mr. Bennett said. They have a small garden at home, but they only grow peppers and tomatoes.
"It's great that it's open," Ms. Bennett said.
Jake Wells, of Moline, and Kelly Mohr, of Coal Valley, talked with customers at the Lee's Creekside Crop booth.
The co-owners said they were happy to be back at the market for the second season.
"So far, so good," Mr. Wells said.
Among the produce and plants the two sell, they said their 20 varieties of heirloom tomatoes do the best.
As for the rest of the summer? "We're pretty excited," Mr. Wells said.
Sherry Staub, of Davenport, said she has been coming to the market for a long time.
"It's the best thing about our town," she said.
Each year she looks forward to snagging flowers, greens and other produce, popcorn and more while supporting the mission of local growers, she said.
"This is pretty amazing."
Chairman of the board of the market Doug Coobs, who was busy selling beautiful plants at the Allen's Grove Greenhouse booth, said there was a good crowd Saturday. "(It's) a beautiful first day," he said.
Mr. Coobs said the market has some new vendors this season and, paired with the food hub inside the Freight House and the other area attractions, it makes a more community-oriented event.
There are about 160 vendors at the market (about 25 of which are indoors), which varies and shifts throughout the year, Mr. Coobs said.
Mr. Coobs said the market is trying to schedule live music and other entertainment for the market, as well as other activities such as the petting zoo.
Mr. Coobs said the market had a "heightened" atmosphere Saturday, as people excitedly bubbled from booth to booth.
"Everybody's been looking forward to it."
Check out these other area markets
ROCK ISLAND COUNTY East Moline Farmers’ Market, Skate City parking lot, 1112 42nd Ave.; 8 a.m.-noon Wednesdays and Saturdays, May 2-Oct. 31. (309) 936-7792 or (309) 944-7980
Homegrown Farmers’ Market on the Square, 321 W. 2nd Ave., Milan; 2-5 p.m. Wednesdays, May 16-Oct. 31. (309) 756-9978 ext. 10
Trinity Moline Market, 500 John Deere Road, Moline; 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays, May 5-Oct. 27. (309) 936-7792 or (309) 944-7980
SCOTT COUNTY Bettendorf Farmers’ Market, parking lot at 2117 State St.; 2-6 p.m. Thursdays, through Oct. 27. (563) 332-5529
Blue Grass Farmers’ Market, Paul Barnes’ farm, 430 Mayne St.; 4-7 p.m. Thursdays, June 7-Sept 27. (563) 381-3761
Davenport Farmers’ Market, parking lot of NorthPark Mall, Davenport; 8 a.m.-noon Wednesdays and Saturdays,May 5-Oct. 29. (563) 332-5529
Freight House Farmers’ Market, 421 W. River Drive; 3-6 p.m. Tuesdays and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, year-round. Outdoor market May 5-Oct. 30. (563) 322-6009
Today is Sunday, May 19, the 139th day of 2013. There are 226 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: The Rt. Rev. Harry I. Witherspoon, D.D. Bishop of Illinois, willpreach in Trinity (Episcopal) Church, in this city this evening. 1888 -- 125 years ago: At 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon the Mississippi River flooded itsbanks at Rock Island, destroying the warehouse of the Rock Island Lumber companyand damaging the Lumber Company and arsenal power plant. Total loss isestimated at $100.000. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Residents of South Rock Island township are circulating a petitionfavoring the annexation of that area to the city of Rock Island. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Mrs. Thomas Ackles, of Rock Island, has been elected president ofthe Playcrafters for the next season. She succeeds Warren Leonard. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Some 8,000 people filed through the gates of Rock Island Arsenal on Saturday to view a display of a part of the nation's armed strength. The occasion was theannual observance of Armed Forces Day. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Willis Kuschmann, of Moline, who already has won his laurels as oneof the most artistic men in the Quad-Cities area, has a new hobby. He is deeply involvedin miniature railroading. At the age of 88, when many other seniors are dozing in theirchairs or sitting before the television, Mr. Kuschmann is planning and working on hiscollection.