Celebrating America’s National Farmers’ Market Week
As the green movement gathers momentum, the number of farmers’ markets have multiplied exponentially over the last couple of years. What was once relegated to roadside stands and a few old, established farmers’ markets on the edge of town has multiplied to include markets that are open a few hours a couple of days a week.
In the city center, North Hills Shopping Center in Raleigh, hosts the Midtown Farmers Market two mornings a week. Diane Sandbrik is a faithful customer at North Hills, and has been for the three years of the market’s existence. She explains why:
"Because the produce is organic and fresh. If I buy it at the grocery store and even if it's organic, I'd better eat it in two days, or it'll be bad"
Many of the vendors boasted of a faithful following, such as Linda Maggio of S & L Farm providing free-range eggs and chicken products:
"There's a regular clientel that comes. Sometimes they get here before I do looking for eggs. That's a hot item, chicken too. We definately have our regulars who come."
While vending at farmers’ markets is a significant part of a small producer’s income, CSA’s and other outlets are common, too, especially for those that produce full time. Haruka Otis and her husband own and operate Edible Earthscapes near Moncure. She explains that they’re involved in many different aspects of marketing for their products:
" We actually have a 30-member CSA, CSA means Community Supported Agriculture. It's a great way to support the local farmers and the local food shed. You get a box of fresh veggies a week, so it's great for everybody like that. We also sell to a couple of restaurants and a food coop."
Haruka gave us her take on why people go to the time and effort to shop a farmers’ market:
"I think everybody really wants to eat healthy, there's just too many scary food recalls you hear about with the ag industry. So, I really think that people are trying to find ways to eat healthy, and the best way to do that is to come to your local farmers' market. And, it's also like 'real people, real food.'"
As Diane mentioned earlier, organic vegetables and freshness are a large attraction to a farmers’ market, but there’s other aspects as well. Walter Jones of Gertrude’s Garden Gems at the new Five-Points Market near downtown Raleigh:
"It's a really nice, quiet, family oriented market."
In fact, you’ll see entire families shopping together, including the family dog at any outdoor market. Dogs are not only welcome, but they’re accommodated with water bowls strategically placed around the stalls.
Diane Sandbrik closed our conversation with this thought:
"Keep it up, don't let this die! Make this keep happening, this is wonderful, people love it."
We’ll be visiting farmers’ markets all week in celebration of National Farmers’ Market Week. Click here to read about Tuesday: South Estes Farmers' Market in Chapel Hill.