State operated farmers markets have been serving North Carolina residents and farmers for 29-plus years. Recently, the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market celebrated its 40th year of service.

by | May 28, 2024

Summary: The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services operates four regional farmers markets that offer residents and farmers a place to buy and sell local produce and food products. Each market has served communities for 29 or more years. The Charlotte Regional Market celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

Today’s Topic with Assistant Commissioner Dr. Joe French and Southern Farm Network’s Mike Davis 

 

  • I’m gonna brag on our state-operated farmers markets for a little bit. With the arrival of May, our markets are really coming alive with fresh fruits and vegetables each week.
  • The markets are busy places right now – we have plant vendors, strawberry growers, produce growers and meat and seafood sellers. Plus, you can find breads, cheeses, honey, crafts and locally made wines and beverages.
  • But many people may not know that each one of our farmers markets has been serving residents and farmers for over 29 years.
  • The State Farmers Market in Raleigh is the oldest at 69 years in operation, although it has only been in its current location for around 34 years.
  • The Charlotte Regional Farmers Market celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
  • In fact, I was able to attend the 40th birthday of the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market a couple of weekends ago and it was exciting to see so many people shopping and selling products.
  • The WNC Farmers Market has operated for 47 years in Asheville, and the Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market in Colfax just celebrated its 29 year in operation on May 18.
  • My trip to the Charlotte Market got me thinking about how important these markets are for farmers and agribusiness owners and for consumers.
  • The markets offer growers the opportunity to sell products by wholesale and retail.
  • Being able to offer a retail market for growers helps improve the farmers bottom line for their commodities, and it creates a venue where agribusiness operators can offer value-added products to consumers, also making more than they would receive for the raw commodity at wholesale.
  • I am proud that we attract so many visitors to the markets and that they want to shop with local farmers and vendors.
  • We continue to look for ways to attract visitors and shoppers to the markets. We know there are new people moving to North Carolina every day, and many of them have little to no connection with agriculture.
  • I hope that by providing fun and engaging venues we can help educate newcomers and other customers about the importance of North Carolina agriculture and help them make a connection between the farm and the table.
  • And while I have mainly been talking about the state-operated markets, most counties in the state have farmers markets.
  • According to a recent N.C. Farmers Market Census, conducted by the North Carolina Farmers Market Network and NC State Extension, there are 194 farmers markets across the state in 93 of our 100 counties.
  • I hope listeners will visit a farmers market and meet some of the people responsible for growing your food.