Farmers market opens new season Wednesday
Products will be varied, but the fresh from the farm and garden produce will be the main draw when the Vance County Farmers Market opens Wednesday morning.
“When you come to the market you actually get to meet the farmer,” said Deborah Price, a frequent vendor of Backroad Farm and Vineyard.
The farmers market allows both the consumer and farmer to benefit from the direct exchange, cutting out middlemen and enhancing freshness. Consumers benefit by purchasing fresh, local products while enabling the farmers to sell their products at a wholesale price rather than a retail price.
The Vance County market is an “open air” or “tailgate” market, meaning vendors come and set up canopies outside to sell their products. The market is open from 7:30 a.m. to about 1 p.m. behind the Henderson Family YMCA at 380 Ruin Creek Road.
Produce is not the only product at the market. Vendors also provide access to canned and baked goods, jams and jellies, homemade artwork and crafts as well as flowers and plants.
Nonetheless, according to Paul McKenzie of the N.C. Cooperative Extension, the fresh, locally grown produce is the primary draw for consumers.
Price alone said she plans to bring between 20 and 25 varieties of produce to the market throughout the season. Cabbage, onions, radishes and turnips are just a few of the products she hopes to provide Wednesday.
There is no admission charge, although vendors pay a $10 application fee to participate.
Any profits accrued during the event go to the individual vendors.
The Vance County Farmers Market is sponsored by Vance County, the City of Henderson, Maria Parham Medical Center, the Henderson Family YMCA and the N.C. Cooperative Extension. In addition to coordinating these events, these organizations provide advertisements, toiletries and hand-washing stations to promote sanitation.
While the vendor’s fees do go toward covering the market’s expenses, McKenzie said the funding primarily comes from the Vance County Farm Bureau.
While there are other, larger farmers markets in North Carolina, Price said it was important to participate in Vance County.
“Number one, I believe in the idea of farmers market,” Price said. “And number two, I live in Vance County.”
Price mentioned that in a local farmers market, consumers can interact with the farmers to learn more about the products they are interested in purchasing, if the consumers are so inclined.
The farmers can tell consumers exactly what is in the product, what went into growing it and how to create or maintain a similar product because they themselves have done it.
And as Price said, “You can’t get fresher than ‘I picked it this morning.’”
Starting this week, the market will be open every Wednesday and Saturday until the fall.
On Saturdays the event will be held from 8 a.m. to noon at the City Operations Center on Beckford Drive.
On any given market day there will be four to 15 participating vendors set up. McKenzie expects 25 to 30 vendors will participate throughout the season.
He explained that the market is designed so that vendors are able to provide consumers with the freshest products on market days.
“Each week is a little different.” said Price, “Unlike a grocery store, if it’s not in season we don’t have it. Like I tell all my customers, if you’re interested in it today, buy it. It may not be here next week.”
Price suggested asking the vendors about seasonal crop productions if consumers are interested in specific produces.
“If you don’t see it today, come back next week and you may see something,” Price said.
Anyone seeking more information about the market or registering as a vendor can contact Wayne Rowland at (252) 438-8188.
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