Kim Viljac and her signature thousand-watt smile have been greeting visitors to the Farmers Market of Bluffton since 2010. You’ll find the market’s executive director at Martin Family Park every Thursday, pinballing between vendors, catching up with old friends, making new ones and generally serving as the hostess for Bluffton’s best weekly party. We sat down with her on a Thursday to pick her brain while we browsed for fresh fruit and vegetables.
Q: What’s your favorite part of the Farmers Market of Bluffton?
A: Just the whole idea of it; helping downtown grow and giving small businesses their start in Old Town. The health and wellness side of it and helping our agricultural community are great, but when you see a local bakery or someone open their own place, it’s really special.
Q: Who are some of your proudest ‘graduates’?
A: The Cottage was a vendor before they opened up their restaurant, but there are so many. I stopped by the Jarvis Creek General Store on Hilton Head the other day and saw five of my vendors represented on the shelf.
Q: What’s the hot item right now?
A: Strawberries are in season, and they always go quickly, but the first day we had peaches come in (May 11), one farmer had a line around the corner. Speaking of hot, we’re doing something new this summer because of the heat and the storms called “Beet the Heat,” with summer hours in June, July and August from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Q: We know what you do on Thursdays, but what do you do the rest of the week?
A: People always say to me, ‘You only have to work one day a week,’ but Thursdays are actually my easy days. We’re a 501 (c)(3) non-profit so we have a lot of grants we apply for, and I’m always talking with new vendors, managing the website and all the people. A lot goes on behind the scenes.
Q: The market has grown tremendously over the last few years. What’s the farthest anyone has traveled from to get here?
A: We’ve had people from all over the world. We have a lot of regulars from Canada who come here during the season, and I’ve come to know them and their families over the years. But we have people from all over.