Rowan Regional workers get their own chance to shop fresh
By Jessie Burchette
Doctors, nurses and other staffers at Rowan Regional Medical Center took home bags of home grown fruit and vegetables Thursday evening.
They picked the produce from stands piled full of corn, tomatoes, cucumber, squash and peaches in the parking lot at the hospital’s first farmer’s market.
Jennifer Stout, nursing case manager, was among those excited at getting fresh produce.
“I never get to go to a market with the hours I work,” Stout said. “Our whole department was very excited. You can’t get the same thing in the supermarket.”
A staff committee came up with the idea for the market and reached out to area growers.
Greg Hartsell of Twin Oaks Farms on Patterson Road responded to a call for assistance.
Hartsell, other vendors and hospital staff stressed that everything sold is 100 percent locally grown.
A few tents away, Brent Barbee of Barbee Farms stayed busy selling and absorbing the excited comments from customers.
Along with the garden goodies, Barbee offered peaches from a six- acre orchard in Concord at Poplar Tent Road and I-85.
When he heard about the Rowan Regional market, he quickly agreed to come.
“I love this idea,” said Barbee, expressing amazement at the positive reaction of the hospital staffers.
Rick Parker, senior director of professional and support services, and Dr. David Smith, medical director, stood in the parking lot and watched the employees go from stand to stand filling bags.
“This is good for everybody,” said Parker. “This is great for our staff … after a 12-hour shift, they can get fresh vegetables, take them home, grill or sauté them.
“And it’s all local,” Parker said.
The market is also open to the public. Organizers are hopeful that local residents will visit and buy local produce.
The market will be held in Rowan Regional’s Parking Lot A, located between Mocksville and Highland avenues, on Thursdays starting at 4 p.m. and continuing until dusk.
Organizers are asking shoppers to bring their own recyclable grocery bags, if possible, to reduce the paper and plastic goods used.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254.