Farmers markets unite the producer and the consumer in a totally unique way. At the supermarket it is difficult to know where everything originated, how it was treated or how fresh a product is. But at a farmers market, you shake the hands that tilled the Earth, that grew the vegetables that grace your dinner table. The produce and various other products at the local farmers markets are a reflection of the landscape and the local people. There is a time and place for supermarket, but it is a tragedy to lose touch with the people and the land that feed the community, especially when there are so many in options in the area. Fresh, healthy, affordable food is closer than you might think.
Murchison Road Community
The Murchison Road Community Farmers Market was created by Fayetteville State University students in 2014 and is made possible thanks to a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Promotion Program. The program is aimed at creating a healthier community by eliminating the food desert that surrounded the Murchison Road community. Before this market, there was no fresh produce readily available in the Murchison Road area. The market runs from mid-May through the end of November every Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at 1047 Murchison Rd. in Bronco Square. There are several family farms that sell produce, herbs, jams, preserves and fresh local honey. For more information, visit www.mrcommunityfarmersmarket.com.
Sandhills Farmers Market of Spring Lake
The Sandhills Farmers Market of Spring Lake is another option for local fresh fruits and vegetables. This market is supported by the Sandhills Family Heritage Association. In addition to fantastic local produce and products, this market has a strong focus on the traditions and heritage of the land.
“African Americans in the Sandhills region of North Carolina have a long tradition of economic self-sufficiency that is tied to the land. SFHA has rekindled that entrepreneurial spirit by promoting community-based economics,” the website explains. The market is designed for underserved producers with limited resources. It is costly to start a business. It takes liquid funds and resources that many just don’t have access to. These barriers often prevent people from engaging in entrepreneurial ventures. This market is an affordable alternative that benefits the producers and the consumers.
The market features produce, handcrafted items and canned goods — all connected with the culture and history of the land. Every third Saturday, the market hosts special activities for children. Closely related to the Sandhills Farmers Market is the 10 Percent Campaign. Supporting the campaign means promising to spend 10 percent of the money that is already designated for food locally (like at a farmers market!) instead of at a major food chain. This pledge supports the local economy, community and farmers. The money not only buys healthy, delicious food, it is an investment in the community. The Sandhills Farmers Market is held at 230 Chapel Hill Road in Spring Lake on Saturdays, July through September, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 910-497-0628 or visit http://sandhillsfamilyheritage.weebly.com.
City Market at the Museum
City Market at the Museum Starts on April 18 and runs through December. It is held at the Fayetteville Transportation and Local History Museum at 325 Franklin St. from 2 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 1p.m. There is no telling what you may bring home from this market, but it is sure to be good.
The vendors at this market are a mixture of farmers and artisans. Next to fresh corn, sweet potatoes and tomatoes are soaps, baked goods, pottery and hand-crafted jewelry of all mediums. This market is a perfect reflection of all the local community produces. The produce is a reflection of the land and the handcrafted goods are a reflection of the people. In order to truly understand the culture of the community both are necessary.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/CityMarketAtTheMuseum or call 910-433-1457.
Community Supported Agricultural Co-op
In the busy modern world it can be difficult to take the time required to visit the farmers market, especially when the days they are held don’t mesh with soccer practice and piano lessons. Luckily, there is an even easier way to get your local fresh produce. Sustainable Sandhills partnered with the Sandhills Farm to Table Cooperative to bring healthy, preservative-free produce practically to family doorsteps with the Community Supported Agriculture Cooperative.
Co-op members subscribe to receive fresh produce boxes either weekly or bimonthly and these boxes are distributed to three drop-off sites by volunteers. These produce boxes offer seasonal fruits and vegetables and treats such as goat cheese, fresh breads, heritage grains and much more. This program helps to make fresh healthy foods more widely available in an environmentally friendly way by cutting down on the distance that food travels and the energy that is consumed to get it there. For more information, visit www.sustainablesandhills.org/#!csa/czpq or call 910-484-9098.