Spring is around the corner, and our local farms, food businesses, and nurseries are gearing up for farmers’ markets around the state! This will be the 23rd season of the Sanford Farmers Market in Downtown Sanford.
Meredith Favre, the local foods coordinator and agriculture agent for Lee County may be new in her position of managing the farmers’ market, but she is already off to a great start with lots of new programming that is being put into place. “It’s really been a fun time learning who all the community partners are.” And that’s how we get things done here in Lee County – partnerships. The local foods coordinator is a new position in Lee County, and Favre indicated that “we are really lucky to have the funding to have such a position.”
Come one, come all on Saturday, April 23rd from 8:30 am – noon for the first farmers’ market of the season. It takes place in the parking lot behind the Buggy Factory Building – 115 Chatham Street. Favre has approximately thirty vendors scheduled to be there, and is in the process of determining if there is enough space for even more vendors.
The farmers’ market “will have a nice diversity of products.” These products include seasonal fruits and vegetables, meats, eggs, honey, soaps, baked goods, herbs, flowers, coffee, sourdough bread and even compost for people’s gardens.
In addition to the products that will available, this year, the NC Cooperative Extension office will have a presence each Saturday, where they will have activities to engage visitors in cooking demonstrations, and how to use foods from the market in their recipes at home. These recipes are a part of the new “Market Menu” program. They will also provide regular educational programming from all their focus areas, which include agriculture, nutrition, and 4-H youth development.
The farmers’ market is also in the process of getting federal food and nutrition programs to become authorized at the market, which improves access to healthy foods for many families in Lee County.
Add on all this programming to an already amazing Farmer’s Market, and I anticipate that attendance will grow beyond the several hundred visitors a day that that market has served in the past few years. The Farmer’s Market runs every Saturday from April 23rd – November 12th.
Just a few of the other things Faver is responsible for is helping local farmers expand their marketing, helping farmers with business and strategic planning, and connecting farmers with local and regional resources.
In the not too distant future, Favre will be working with more food entrepreneurs as the Agriculture Marketplace is being developed in downtown Sanford. “We’re in conversations with the City to firm up plans for this project” says Favre. “It’s going to be a great resource for food access in the downtown area.”