Mark(et) Your Calendars!
After a winter of eating canned beans and frozen pizzas, nothing is more mouthwatering than the fresh foods found at the Watauga County Farmers' Market.
Even though the growing season has barely begun here in the mountains, the market features plenty of delicious foods grown a little to our south.
Plus, if you're starting your own garden, the farmers' market in May features plenty of starter plants to grow your own vegetables. Other early season items that can be found at the market include farm fresh eggs.
The Watauga County Farmers' Market begins its 38th consecutive season in the High Country on Saturday, May 7, at the Horn in the West parking lot in Boone. The market runs from 8 a.m. to noon.
The market will also host a cleanup day for vendors on Saturday, April 30, at the market location, starting at 9 a.m. It will be an opportunity for vendors to spruce up their stall areas and get an idea of what further maintenance is necessary before opening the 2011 season.
This year's Watauga County Farmers' Market will be the last one in its Horn in the West location. The Wednesday farmers' market events will now take place from 8 to 11 a.m. at the K-Mart parking lot in Boone.
"While it is sad to leave such a beautiful location that we have occupied for over 30 years, we hope the larger space which will include more parking spaces will make shopping at the market more convenient and pleasant for everyone," said Karen Bauman, manager of the farmers' market.
Baurman noted that this year's market will feature a number of special events.
"We will have our Plant and Herb Day on May 21, Spring Greens Day on June 11, Red, White and Blue Day on July 2, Tomato and Garlic Day on Aug. 20, a Pie Contest on Sept. 17 and Appalachian Craft Day on Oct. 15," she said.
There will also be cookbook signings this year. Watauga County native Sheri Castle will sign copies of her new cookbook, "The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers' Markets, Roadside Stands, and CSA Farm Boxes," from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 9.
This season, the Watauga County Farmers' Market will feature: Quality produce from local growers; fresh fruits and berries in season, jams, jellies, mustard and honey; fresh herbs and herbal products, including teas, salves, vinegars, soap and potpourri; flowers, fresh-cut and dried, wreaths and arrangements; fresh baked breads, cakes, and pastries form our country kitchens; farm fresh eggs; farm-based crafts like wool, birdhouses, pottery, baskets and handcrafted yard art and garden furniture; and a large selection of plants, including annuals, perennials and shrubs.
Farmers' Market Tips
Bring small bills so that making change is easier for sellers. Checks are generally accepted, but most venders are not set up for credit or debit cards.
Many shoppers bring large bags or baskets to consolidate their purchases.
Most vendors are happy to recycle or reuse egg cartons, flowerpots, berry baskets and bags.
Please do not bring pets into the market area. Service animals are welcome.
Bring a picnic. Enjoy Horn in the West's picnic area or the nearby Boone Park. Desserts, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, breads and coffee are usually sold at the market.
Parking can be tight, so be patient, be courteous, and be on the lookout for pedestrians.