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Farmers' Market Season Is Here

 
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We’re giddy with excitement that the 2017 farmers’ market season is open! There’s no better place to meet the hardworking folks who grow and harvest our region’s delicious bounty. Enjoy tastings, live music, and connect with new and old friends along the way. Below you’ll find just a few of our favorite farmers’ markets across our Mast Store communities.


farmer-4.jpgWatauga County Farmers' Market in the High Country (Valle Crucis & Boone, NC)
Be a part of the excitement at Boone's “town square”! Opening day of the Watauga County Farmers' Market is coming up on Saturday, May 6th. Every weekend through the end of October, visit with your friends, neighbors, and local farmers from 8 a.m. until noon at the Horn in the West parking lot near Appalachian State University.

The Watauga County market offers the region’s best selection of quality produce from local growers in addition to seasonal fresh fruits and berries, local jellies and jams, and honey, too. You can also find freshly baked breads, cakes and pastries from country kitchens, fresh farm eggs, fresh aged goat cheeses, locally-raised meats, fresh herbs, fresh-cut and dried flowers, wreaths, and hand-picked arrangements. Farm-based crafts including birdhouses, jewelry, wool, pottery, baskets, handcrafted yard art and garden furniture are offered by skilled local crafters and artists. You’ll also find a large selection of plants, including annuals, perennials, and shrubs.

The Market has quite a few exciting additions to enjoy this year: “We’re happy to welcome vendors who’ll delight us with farm fresh milk, pasta, organic popcorn, fruit popsicles, and authentic Native American crafts. New for 2017 will also be beer tastings by local craft breweries and an additional food truck with a variety of delectable brunch and lunch items. Look for new and unique items every week, as well as special events, live music, cooking demonstrations, and children's activities,” shares Market Manager, Ben Massey. For updates and more information, click HERE.


farmers-market-alaina-drawdy-cox-1.jpgAsheville City Market in Asheville, NC
The Asheville City Market has big news! They’ve moved to a new location at North Market Street between Woodfin and Walnut Streets. From April through October, the freshest, best-tasting food in the area take over one block in the heart of Downtown Asheville each Saturday morning. You’ll still find your favorite vendors of farm-fresh produce, meat, dairy, and local artisan products, as well as brand-new offerings in the expanded market.

Additionally, the Asheville City Market South remains at its usual location in the center of Biltmore Park Town Square and will be open every Wednesday afternoon for the community’s mid-week shopping needs.

At both market locations, enjoy cooking demonstrations, live music, and food tastings from local chefs, family-friendly activities, and much more. EBT, credit cards, and debit cards are all accepted. For more helpful information about the biggest market for local food and artisan products in Asheville, as well as many other fantastic regional markets, click HERE.
 

farmer-3.jpgHenderson County Tailgate Market in Hendersonville, NC
The Tailgate Market in Henderson County has returned for its 2017 season. Head on down to the Henderson County Building parking area (between First and Second Avenues) at 100 N. King Street every Saturday now through mid-November. From 8 a.m. until noon, enjoy the area’s freshest bounty of local produce, bedding plants, flowers, herbs, baked goods, and canned goods, too. For more, visit HERE.

Haywood’s Historic Farmers’ Market in Waynesville, NC
Every Wednesday and Saturday, from now through late October, enjoy Haywood’s Historic Farmers’ Market from 8:00 a.m. until noon at 250 Pigeon Street, right next to the HART Theatre. As a “producer only” farmers’ market, all produce comes from Haywood County or an adjacent county. There’s no better way to meet your farmers and to connect with your food. You’ll find a variety of vegetables, fruits, meats, eggs, dairy, honey, heritage crafts, and so much more. The market accepts credit, debit, and SNAP/EBT. For more, click HERE.


farmer-7.jpgCobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem in Winston-Salem, NC
Already in full swing for the 2017 season, the Old Salem Museums & Gardens is pleased to partner with the Cobblestone Farmers’ Market at Old Salem to bring fresh, local farm products into the heart of the city, which continues a tradition that began in Salem more than 200 years ago. Find sustainably raised and certified organic vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses, breads, flowers, jam, wine, coffee, tea, and so much more. The Cobblestone Farmers’ Market is dedicated to significantly increasing access to sustainably-grown food in Winston-Salem and to growing their regional food economy by creating a nurturing and thriving marketplace. Head on down this Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon. Updates can be found HERE.
 

farmer-1.jpgMarket Square Farmers’ Market in Knoxville, TN
The Market Square Farmers’ Market is an open-air farmers’ market located on Market Square in the heart of Downtown Knoxville. Everything at the market is grown or made by farmers and vendors in East Tennessee. Products vary by the seasons and include produce, eggs, honey, herbs, pasture-raised meat, bread, baked goods, salsas, coffee, artisan crafts, and so much more. With interactive fountains, delicious local food, and surroundings filled with shops and restaurants, the Market Square Market is a perfect family destination. The season kicks off on Saturday, May 6th, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. If you can’t wait until Saturday, a smaller version of the market is held on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. You can get all the details HERE.


farmer-6.jpgTD Saturday Market in Greenville, SC
On Saturday mornings from the beginning of May until the end of October, two blocks of Downtown Greenville’s Main Street (at McBee Avenue) are transformed into the bustling TD Saturday Market. “From red ripe strawberries in early June or singe-your-tongue hot peppers in late July,” shares one market-goer, over 75 vendors offer the season’s freshest offerings each week.  All food is grown or produced within 100 miles of Greenville and many crafters use locally-sourced supplies as well. “Most people come for the fresh produce or the handcrafted pastas and cheeses, some make it a summertime ritual—a place to meet friends over a decadent breakfast pastry or a place for the little ones to jig and jive to local musicians in the warm summer air and others come for the opportunity to take in a local chef’s cooking demonstration,” share the kind folks at the TD Saturday Market. Head on over from 8 a.m. until noon. There’s more details HERE.

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Soda City Farmers Market in Columbia, SC
Soda City is Columbia’s Main Street market focused on your brain, body and belly. They’re open every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., rain or shine, all year long. Whether you’re picking up this week’s groceries, shopping for a one-of-kind gift, or spending the morning with family and friends, you’ll find a refreshing mix of local and regional food and craft vendors at Soda City.

Where’d the name Soda City come from? It’s Columbia’s shortened name (COLA) and emerged in honor of Columbia’s colorful history as a major hub for soda bottling plants. There’s free parking throughout Columbia on the weekends (no matter what you see on signs and stickers) including the Cannon Garage on Taylor Street between Main Street and Sumter Street. For more, click HERE.
 

Here's a few helpful tips before you venture out to the farmers’ market in your community:
farmer-5.jpg-    Bring your own reusable bags and baskets. Also, bring your own mug for a fresh cup of java or tea while you explore.
-    Many markets take debit and credit cards, but cash is often easiest and smaller bills are always appreciated. Also, cash is king when it comes to bargaining prices with willing vendors because it saves them on those pesky banking and credit fees. Taking cash will help keep you on a budget, too.
-    You’re more likely to make the best choices for your needs if you make a loop before you purchase. It’s also important to remember that you’ll have a better selection of the freshest foods if you arrive when the market opens. If you wait until the end of the day, you’ll be more likely to strike a deal with farmers who don’t want to lug their produce back home.
-    Ask questions. Vendors have great ideas for recipes, tips for planting your own vegetable starts, and information about produce you may have never considered eating before.
-    Make time to visit. Many markets offer activities for children, food sampling, cooking demonstrations, and live music. You’re bound to run into friends, neighbors, co-workers, and make some new connections along the way. The farmers’ market is a wonderful place to socialize for the whole family… and it’s free!