Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”
National Farmers Market Week is Aug. 6-12, but there are plenty of reasons to celebrate the state’s farmers markets year-round.
The NCDA&CS operates markets in Raleigh, Charlotte, Asheville and Colfax, which is just west of Greensboro. These markets are open throughout the year, and this time of year is their peak season. In addition to daily offerings of fresh produce and other agricultural products, the markets host a variety of special events, and many of them are tied to specific crops, such as Strawberry Day, Peach Day or Watermelon Day.
The Charlotte Regional Farmers Market branched out into meat with an event called Beef It Up. The market partnered with three beef farms, and chefs from local restaurants did cooking demonstrations and gave out samples. “It was a great way to show how products available at the market are used in recipes,” Commissioner Troxler says.
These events have a positive impact on the markets and the vendors that sell at them. Attendance is typically higher on the special days, and that increase usually carries over into the following weekend.
During these special events, there are free samples, recipes, visits by commodity queens and contests. At Watermelon Day at the State Farmers Market on July 27, the Largest Watermelon Contest had its largest watermelon ever. Danny Vester of Spring Hope had a watermelon weighing 237.5 pounds, the heaviest ever recorded at the State Farmers Market.
The four state markets aren’t the only farmers markets in the state. According to the USDA, there are about 250 of them across North Carolina. To find a farmers market near you, visit www.ncfarmfresh.com.
Click on the link below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda talk about farmers markets.
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