South Hill Farmers Market Offers Local Food and More
South Hill Farmers Market is still in full swing in Mecklenburg County. Jeanne Faulconer visited the market Saturday and found more than vegetables.
Farmers markets are becoming more popular across the country, increasing by 19 percent just in the past year, according to the US Department of Agriculture. The South Hill Farmers Market is just a couple of years old and is part of surging interest in locally-grown foods. Everett Jeter, a vendor at the market, says people appreciate the fresh produce.
Jeter: I think people come because it's locally grown produce. It's fresh; it's right out of the field, and I feel like you know more about what you're getting from that area than you are to buy something that's shipped in from who-knows-where.
A steady stream of customers visited the South Hill Farmers Market, buying up most of the day's fruits and vegetables, and usually hearing a good story in the process. There was also lots of talk about farming in this summer's dry weather and record heat. Other vendors offered homemade baked cookies, cakes, breads, fresh cut flowers, pickles and jams, and hand-made items.
Pat Folio of the Market Square Committee says the Farmers Market is a great incentive to get people out to see what this small southern Virginia town has to offer. Farmers Market customers in South Hill easily walk to find antiques, ice cream and gifts in quaint downtown shops, or walk to the restored train depot and museum on Main Stree,t or to the Tobacco Farm Life museum just around the corner.
Folio says in addition to farmers, other vendors are welcome, as are musicians.
Folio: We are definitely taking vendors as they come. It's only five dollars to rent a booth and we're looking for bakers, crafters, anything that's homemade. Also fund raisers. If you have a local church or youth group that wants to do some kind of fund raiser, we'd love to have you down here. Also entertainment, I'm looking for some pickers and grinners.
Vendors do need to apply before coming to the market.
The South Hill Farmers Market will be open Saturday mornings at least through early October, and farmers are promising pumpkins and gourds for Halloween and fall decorating. Like everything else for farmers, the exact date of the last market will depend on how the rest of the growing season is affected by the weather.
Jeanne Faulconer, WCVE News, South Hill