By Lori Bunn
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and we don’t mean Christmas. It’s spring, and shopping the local farmers’ markets means red juicy strawberries, golden honey and fresh eggs. Being a former agriculture student and former Future Farmer of America member, I get excited and love to see local farmers and artisans selling fresh, healthy and unique produce and goods.
I recently visited two local farmers’ markets. My first trip brought me to the opening day for Zebulon’s farmers’ market on May 2. The Farm Fresh Market is to be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday for 22 weeks, excluding Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July, and Labor Day weekend.
The town of Zebulon was recently awarded a grant from the John Rex Endowment to fund the farmers’ market for the next three years. The John Rex Endowment supports an environment where children and families in greater Wake County live healthy lives.
The town of Zebulon was recently labeled a “food desert,” which means residents must walk more than a mile to get healthy food. In order to combat this label, the mission of the Farm Fresh Market is for all members of the community to become educated about and benefit from consuming locally grown food. The aim is to help all socio-economic groups, from farmers to local consumers and the less fortunate who might need assistance from the local food bank.
EBT and WIC vouchers specifically for farmers’ markets will be accepted at the Zebulon market. The EBT card will be swiped for $10, and the customer will receive $20 worth of tokens to use each week to buy fresh foods.
The Zebulon market will also present special events each month, such as recipe contests calling for fresh ingredients, live music from local musicians and drawings for prizes. There will also be a police appreciation day and an appearance from the state Department of Agriculture’s “Got to Be NC” giant shopping cart.
There are currently 17 regular vendors at the market. Vendors set prices for their goods and pay a fee to set up at the market.
The market is located at the Zebulon Community Center at 301 South Arendell Avenue.
“We are very excited, because we have a lot of vendors participating.” “The citizens were ready for it,” the market’s manager, Maurin Brown, said.
Items sold at the market include homemade dog treats, fresh-squeezed lemonade, blended oils, body scrubs and lip balms, hanging baskets, produce, fresh and organic eggs, local honey, organic pork, beef and chicken, relishes and a variety of sweet delicious berries.
My next excursion took me to Rolesville’s Farmer’s Market, which opened on May 9. There were five vendors who hoped for additional sellers to join them.
The Rolesville Farmer’s Market is independently run by Sandy Young, Eugenia Pleasants and Leslie Rudd. The market will run through October. Vendors are not charged a fee.
Among the vendors who kicked off the first day of the Rolesville market’s second year were the Community Gardeners of Rolesville. These ladies love to garden and have helped beautify the town and school campuses in Rolesville. They were selling plants, and providing information and advice about plants.
Others at the Rolesville market on opening day were Bean Therapy, selling coffee beans and specialty teas; Deborah Young, an artist from Young’s Farm who was selling paintings; and two food vendors for those who were hungry for hot dogs and baked goods from Scrumdelicious.
Rolesville Mayor Frank Eagles made an appearance for opening day also. “It’s great to have the Farmer’s Market back this year,” he said. “I have always been an advocate of farmers’ markets.”
The Rolesville Farmer’s Market is on the corner of Young Street and U.S. 401, behind The Rolesville Buzz. It is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.