Fresh vegetables at their peak at Farmer's Market

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 27, 2008

The Salisbury-Rowan Farmer’s Market in downtown Salisbury is alive and bursting with colorful displays of locally grown produce, flowers and baked goods.
Two large, green shade canopies easily identify the market area along with landscaped sidewalks and lighting.
The Salisbury-Rowan Farmer’s Market is open two days a week, Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The market provides space for local growers with fresh, homegrown produce, cut flowers, ornamental flowers, baked goods and other goods for the citizens of Rowan County.
Now is the time when many fruits and vegetables are at their peak.
Sweet corn, tomatoes, squash, onions, cantaloupes, peppers, potatoes, blackberries and blueberries are just a few produce items available at the market. Visit the market often because the availability of fresh produce will vary as the season progresses.
Below are a few shopping tips for those that would like to visit the market:
– Come to the market early. You’ll find the best selection if you arrive early. Many vendors are completely sold out by 11 a.m.
– Take your time. Have fun browsing. It’s usually a good idea to peruse the entire market first, taking time to taste or compare the offerings of different vendors. Once you’ve determined which vendors have the best produce, go back and make your purchases.
– Bring coolers. If not planning to go straight home with your produce, you may want to have coolers with ice packs in your vehicle to keep it fresh and at its peak.
– Bring your own containers. Most market vendors have plastic bags, but it’s easiest if you bring your own reusable bags with handles or containers for cut flowers.
– Ask vendors questions. Make sure to ask questions of the growers or vendors if you see an item that’s not familiar. Many farmers love to share their knowledge about their crops. Most can even give you recipes and cooking tips. It’s good to establish a relationship with growers. Seasoned shoppers always have their favorite producers.
– Don’t purchase too much. Your main objective is to have a steady supply of fresh produce. Produce sitting in your refrigerator all week defeats the purpose of fresh fruit and vegetables.
– Bring cash to the market. Even though many vendors accept checks, cash is still the easiest currency. Many vendors now accept WIC vouchers. You’ll see the large WIC posters displayed at participation vendors.
More information, including market rules, market application and a list of participating vendors, can be found at the market Web site:
Darrell Blackwelder is an agricultural agent in charge of horticulture with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Call 704-216-8970.
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