If you’re hosting a Memorial Day cookout this weekend, plan a visit to a state farmers market for your grocery needs. You can find a large selection of locally grown produce, as well as a variety of fresh meats and cheeses. A trip to a farmers markets also is a great way to spend time with family and friends. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect to find this weekend:
Southeastern North Carolina Farmers Market
There may be fewer vendors at the market for Memorial Day, but come out Saturday for New Potato Day. Staff will be on hand offering stewed and baked new-potato samples from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. While you are there, be sure to pick up some new potatoes to take home for your backyard barbecue. There also will be vendors selling locally grown produce throughout the weekend.
WNC Farmers Market
According to farmers market staff, the popular items this weekend will be strawberries, tomatoes, sweet onions and watermelons. The market also has a variety of squash, zucchini and bell peppers for grilling and a large selection of bedding plants and hanging baskets. If you are getting plants for your garden, you may want to stop by the Master Gardeners plant clinic Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Trained volunteers will give free advice and offer gardening tips for managing disease problems, identifying insects and growing plants.
Charlotte Regional Farmers Market
The Charlotte Regional Farmers Market has a great selection of N.C. pork and beef. You also can pick up fresh emu meat to try something different on the grill. Blueberries have started coming in and there is a small supply of cling peaches as well. The Charlotte market is closed Mondays throughout the year, including Memorial Day, so don’t wait until the last minute to visit. Saturday, the market will host the Mecklenburg County Master Gardeners. Bring your gardening questions and problem plants with you and receive free advice from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Piedmont-Triad Farmers Market
The Piedmont-Triad Farmers Market expects a big weekend, and almost all of the vendor spaces will be full for Memorial Day. Vendors have N.C. peaches, blueberries and a few strawberries. In addition, there is a selection of N.C. beef and pork, including cuts of steaks, tenderloins and ribs, perfect for grilling.
State Farmers Market
The growing seasons for N.C. strawberries, blueberries and peaches overlap for a short time each year. This weekend, visitors to the State Farmers Market will be able to enjoy all three. There’s a large selection of produce, including greenhouse tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini and lettuce. While you’re there, you also can pick up bedding plants, trees and shrubs for any weekend gardening projects.
There are five state-operated farmers market in North Carolina, but there are hundreds of local farmers markets and roadside stands. To find a location near you, go to www.ncfarmfresh.com.