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Croptastic donations accepted at market

Article Published: Jul. 22, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Tomatoes and okra and green beans, oh my! To some, produce is a grocery list staple, bringing leafy greens and succulent zucchini to the table. But for Wataugans at the poverty line, even these healthy essentials don't always make the list.

That's where Karen Bauman comes in. Bauman, the manager for the Watauga County Farmers' Market, hopes a new produce donation program will help distribute the wealth, but to implement it, she needs the support of you and your garden.

"We need people to donate," she said.

Last Saturday, a cooler for produce donations was placed at the manager's tent, and it will be there from now on at the Watauga County Farmers' Market. There's one problem with the plan, however.

"No one's donating," Bauman said Saturday.

That meant the Society of St. Andrews had little to distribute to the Hospitality House and OASIS (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information and Shelter) Saturday. It's a problem Bauman hopes can be easily remedied.

"We need to get the word out," she said.

All food will be accepted, though the emphasis is on fresh produce. Don't have a garden? No problem. Just pick up something extra at the market, she said.

Additionally, this Saturday's market features fresh cut Clethra summer sweet "Ruby Spice" with pink flowers and "Hummingbird" in white. It's not too late to garden herbs. Shady Grove Gardens and Nursery will have an assortment of herbs ready to go. Denver Daisy and Clethra "Vanilla Spice," with fragrant blooms, will also be on sale, and be sure to check out blacksmith Tom Wooten's forged creations for your garden.

The usual assortment of heirloom tomatoes (courtesy of Zydeco Moon Organic Farms), as well as new pork chops, sausage and other meaty staples (Watauga River Farms) are market highlights, and perfect for that donation cooler.

Saturday offers just one of Watauga County's chances to shop for fresh produce.

The Watauga County Farmers' Market offers two weekly opportunities: Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday mornings until noon at the Horn in the West parking lot.

Blowing Rock's Farmers Market happens Thursdays from 4 p.m to 6 p.m. off Main Street behind the Blowing Rock park.

Fridays bring the farmers market crowd to Valle Crucis, with a market behind the original Mast General Store.

Earth Fare in Boone rounds things out with a Sunday farmer's market from 9 a.m. to noon in its parking lot.

Want to stretch your wings? Ashe County may have the tasty ticket Saturday. They've got pie on their minds, as the Ashe County Farmers Market's Berry Pie contest brings treats from the oven to the market. Pies, made with any kind of berry (grown in Ashe County), must include a homemade crust and can be brought to the market between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Judging starts at 11 a.m., and a $20 market gift certificate will be issued to the winner.

The Ashe County Farmers Market happens each Saturday on the backstreet in downtown West Jefferson.

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