By Nicole Esplin, 2013
When driving East from Murphy, small towns lead to winding roads protected on each side by Nantahala National Forest. Tunnels of leaves and trickling waterfalls opened up to large lake views, and finally dumped our caravan into Cashier, N.C. By this time, we were searching for our next adventure, and we stumbled into the Cashiers Farmers Market after being drawn in by a large pumpkin display out front. We were four girls road tripping in mid-October; it would have been impossible to ignore that festive display.
With just a quick glance, the market could be passed off as a typical roadside market, but the Cashiers Farmers Market has much more to offer than pickled eggs and homemade jams. The sweet, tart smell of fresh apples accompanies the sound of cars passing outside along Highway 64. The store mascot, 2-year-old golden retriever named Riley, walks up, licks your hand, and then immediately rolls on his back for a belly-rub. Robin, who co-owns and operates the market with her husband, laughs and explains how they have been in business for 19 seasons.
The Cashiers Farmers Market sells specifically local food, including beef from nearby Brasstown. Robin explains that in Cashiers, everyone “tries to do business and not step on others’ toes.” It is a quaint village of about 1,000 locals, whose population spikes during the summer months. And, sitting on the porch of the Cashiers Farmers Market with the smell of apple cider wafting through the air and the faint thud of a content Riley’s wagging tail hitting the floor, I can definitely tell why this is a vacation destination.