Catawba Valley Farmers Market joins markets all across the country in celebrating National Farmers Market Week from August 6-12. Vendors will bring locally grown and locally produced foods and crafts to the Catawba market on Thursday, August 10.
As demand for local food continues to grow, so too have the opportunities for America’s farmers to market fresh food directly to the consumer. According to statistics recently released by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), farmers markets and farm stands account for roughly $2 billion of the $3 billion that Americans spend annually on farm-direct products. This revenue, in turn, supports the livelihoods of more than 165,000 mostly small and mid-sized farms and ranches.
The Catawba Valley Farmers Market (CVFM) began in 2010, and currently hosts 16 farmers and craftsmen selling a wide variety of products, including grass-fed beef, pork products, free-range chickens, eggs, baked goods, fresh produce, herbs, candies, pickles, jams, honey and fried pies. Seasonal items include native plants, shrubs, bedding plants, hanging baskets, chrysanthemums and pumpkins. Crafts include goat-milk soaps, pottery, hand-sewn items and scented candles. The annual Holiday Market in November of each year includes many of the above-mentioned items as well as numerous Christmas gift ideas. For the 2017 season, CVFM is on track to generate at least $38,000 for these local producers and craftsmen, a valuable economic boost for the region.
“Farmers markets play a vital role not just in generating real income for farmers, but in forming a healthy, prosperous food systems,” says Jen Cheek, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “By providing the opportunity for farmers to connect directly with consumers, markets serve as education centers. Vendors are teaching customers about agriculture and sharing recipes and new foods with their neighbors. Markets are making people and communities stronger and healthier.” The Catawba Valley Farmers Market accepts SNAP/EBT payments (formerly food stamps) and matches payments up to $30.00, for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables, making nutritious foods more affordable and more available to lower-income citizens.
Pam Hall of Hall’s Gardens in Catawba, a vendor since the Market began in 2010, said “Since I love to work in the dirt, to plant and see things grow, selling our produce at the Catawba Valley Farmers Market gives me an opportunity to share my knowledge and ideas with the customers while supplying fresh, nutritious foods to the members of our local community who are not able to grow their own foods.” Selling their products at CVFM has created extra income not only for full-time farmers/growers, but also for stay-at-home moms, retirees on fixed incomes, hobbyists and young beginning farmers.
The Catawba Valley Farmers Market is a collaborative project of the Catawba Sustainability Center, the County of Roanoke, Catawba Valley Ruritan Club, LEAP for Local Food and the Catawba community. CVFM is located at the Catawba Community Center, 4965 Catawba Creek Road (Route 779), Catawba, VA 24070. The Market is open each Thursday from mid-May to mid-October, from 3:30 to 7:00 p.m., rain or shine. The location is a Roanoke County park, with playground, tennis court and restrooms and is handicap-accessible.
The Catawba Valley Farmers Market Facebook page gives more information and includes the weekly newsletter, with updates on available products, musical entertainment and other special events. Ann G. Harrell, Market Manager, may be contacted via email at [email protected]
– submitted by Ann G. Harrell, CVFM Manager