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Amy-Lynn Albertson: Shop at farmers’ markets, eat healthy

Cooking demonstration

Cooperative Extension Agent Toi Degree does a cooking demonstration at the 2015 Farmers' Market.

Cooperative Extension Agent Toi Degree does a cooking demonstration at the 2015 Farmers’ Market.

By Amy-Lynn Albertson

Rowan Extension Director

Rowan County has a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, flowers and plants for sale right here in our own backyard.

This summer Rowan County residents will be able to buy these local treasures at the Salisbury Farmers Market and the China Grove Farmers Market at the Roller Mill.

Fresh locally grown strawberries, squash, beans and more will be available, along with a variety of flowers and plants at the opening day of the Salisbury Farmers Market Saturday, located at the parking lot at the corner of West Fisher and South Jackson Streets in Salisbury — right across from Rowan Public Library headquarters from 8 a.m.-noon.

This year the Salisbury Farmers Market will open the Wednesday Market May 25-Aug. 30 from 8 a.m.-noon at the Fisher/Jackson Street location and from  4-7 p.m. at the Visitor’s Center, next to New Sarum Brewery, across from a bus stop.

For information on becoming a vendor or just shopping at the market, go to the Salisbury Farmers Market webpage http://www.salisburyfarmersmarket.com.

The China Grove Farmers Market is located at the historic Roller Mill. The market will operate on Fridays from 4-6 p.m. beginning May 6. The China Grove Farmers Market is looking for new vendors, so if you are interested, please contact the town hall at 704-857-2466, ext. 102

Farmers’ markets help small farmers connect directly to their consumers and help them secure a larger share of the food dollar. Presently, only 20 cents of every dollar spent on food at the supermarket actually goes to the farmer.

The average produce on a supermarket shelf traveled 1,500 miles to get there, and that’s only counting food grown in the U.S. By the time a tomato has been harvested, packed, transported by boats, trucks, trains and planes, stored or processed and brought home to eat, it may be several weeks old and stripped of nutrients and flavor.

In contrast, a tomato sold at the Farmers’ Market was likely picked from the vine that morning or the night before. Farmers’ markets help reduce food miles, which reduces vehicle pollution, noise and fossil fuel use.

With their freshly-picked fruits, vegetables, flowers and other produce, farmers’ markets provide a feast for the senses and connect shoppers with farmers, neighbors, the community and where their food comes from.

By shopping at farmers’ markets, not only are you supporting our local farmers, you are also helping the environment by encouraging farm diversification and bio-diversity. In addition, access to fresh food will help you improve your diet and nutrition. The riper a fruit or vegetable is when it’s picked and the sooner you eat any produce after picking it, the more nutrients it contains. So support our local farms and eat healthy all summer long by shopping at the Salisbury and China Grove Farmers Markets.

For more information about the farmers’ markets or how to be a vendor at either market, contact Rowan County Extension Center at 704-216-8970.

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