Danelle Cutting: Farmers markets are opening up

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 21, 2015

By Danelle Cutting

Rowan Cooperative Extension

Are you ready for farmers’ market season? I know I am, and this year will be action packed. Many of our markets are opening up within the next couple of weeks, and there will be an abundance of delicious local goodies. If you did not buy anything over the winter from our local farms, this will be the time to stock up.

To get ready for the season, there are a few things you may want to think about before you go to the market. Go early or at least mid-market hours so that you can get what you want. Build a relationship with the growers, and pre-order your items if you are not an early person. Just get there before the market closes. Most of the grower/vendors would love to have pre-orders so they know exactly what they need to bring.

Don’t go late expecting the growers to cut their prices in half. These farmers have spent many hours and hard labor to get you the best products available. There is a very small margin of profit in what they sell you, and sometimes it is even at a loss. If we don’t pay our growers what they need to earn a profit, we will soon lose out on our farmers.

Bring a cooler, especially if you plan to grab lunch before heading home. This will keep your frozen meats, seafood and tender fruits and vegetables good for a few hours. If you want to make a conscious effort to buy local, make a meal plan for the week. Start your grocery shopping at the market first. This way you will get the freshest produce (most are picked the day/night before or early on the morning of the market), best price and everything you need.

If you are trying to cut down on preservatives and artificial food additives, one of the best places to get your food supplies is at local farmers’ markets. Rowan County Farmers Markets have breads, sweets, jams, jellies, eggs, cheese, meat, seafood, produce and many other items. The awesome thing is that this all comes from our local farmers and vendors.

Farmers’ markets are for families, and many of the Rowan County Farmers Markets have great activities for everyone. Some events coming up are a Strawberry Day, Paleo Caveman and Cavewoman Cook-off, Leave it to Cleaver- Knife skills Demo, Market Chef 2- Youngster Addition and much more. This is just a taste of what the market season will be like. There are also a few more farmers’ markets opening and additional hours.

The Salisbury-Rowan Farmers Market will open Saturday, April 25 from 8 a.m.-noon. It will again be at 115 S. Jackson St. The market is also hosting additional hours on Wednesdays. The market will be open on Wednesday mornings from 8 a.m.-noon, and Wednesday evenings from 4 -7 p.m. If you would like more information on the Salisbury Farmers Market, visit: www. http://salisburyfarmersmarket.com/

The China Grove Farmers Market will open Friday, May 1 from 4-7 p.m. at the Roller Mill parking lot in China Grove, 308 N. Main St. This is the sixth season at the historic mill site, and they are currently seeking vendor applications. If you are interested in selling at the market, please call 704-433-3912.

The Cleveland Farmers Market at the 100 block of South Depot Street will open Wednesday, May 13, from 3:30–6 p.m. This will be a great opportunity to get local goodies to the Cleveland, Woodleaf and Mount Ulla area. If you would like to be a vendor at the Cleveland Farmers Market, please call Cleveland Town Hall at 704-278-1900.

If you would like more information on buying local, becoming a grower or vendor, or would like more information on the events mentioned in this article, please call your local Cooperative Extension Agent, Danelle Cutting, at 704-216-8970.