Watauga Farmers' Market opens Saturday
A farmer places a seed in the ground, carefully waters and patiently nurtures it, and eventually comes an abundant crop.
Such is the yield of the Watauga County Farmers' Market, opening for its 37th season on Saturday.
The market that began with a small group of farmers selling out of the beds of pickup trucks has now become the informal town square of Boone, home to politicians seeking votes, consumers seeking fresh local goods and growers who welcome a chance to share abundance with their neighbors.
There will be an even greater range of products at the market this year, including new craft items, prepared foods and local meats, said market president Joe Martin. It will also be an opportunity for local gardeners to buy starter plants and bulbs.
"We expect to see about 80 vendors this Saturday," said market manager Karen Bauman. The Mountain Alliance will be cooking breakfast as a fundraiser to launch the market this year.
Sally Thiel of Zydeco Moon Organic Farm will have a variety of heirloom tomato plants for sale, including Cherokee purple, brandywine and green zebra. She will also have rhubarb, lettuce, spinach, onions and bok choy.
The Pasta Wench returns with a new improved ravioli and pastas, and gluten free fettucini. New flavors include Roasted Red Pepper and Onion, Gorgonzola with Pine Nuts and several new fettucini flavors, Spinach, Roasted Tomato & Basil.
Cory and Dale Emmons of Harmony Acres Soap Company will have a lot of produce this year, meat chickens, and, of course, soap. They will have a few turkeys and eggs if available.
"There will be green thing like tomato transplants, onions, rhubarb, pasta, bread and meat," Bauman said. "We'll also have crafts, annuals for spring planting, jewelry, furniture and more."
The Wednesday markets will begin June 2, with afternoon hours from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Many market sellers take electronic benefit cards, as well as WIC vouchers, checks and cash, depending upon the vendor. Call 1-828-355-4918 for more information on using EBT at the market.
The market is at the Horn in the West Drive in Boone, turn next to First Citizens Bank on the N.C. 105 Extension and go to the top of the hill. Call Karen Bauman at (828) 355-4918 or visit wcfm.info for more information.
Also in Ag...
Cover Crops for Vegetable Growers Educational Workshop May 3
Growing cover crops is one of the least expensive yet most rewarding steps a vegetable farmer can take to save on fertilizer costs and improve soil. This class will explore rotation plans that help small farms keep up harvests despite unpredictable weather patterns and short growing seasons here in the mountains. On Monday, May 3, at 7 p.m., the New River Organic Growers and N.C. Cooperative Extension will present an educational workshop to address these questions and discuss what works for area farms. The workshop will be held at the Watauga Agricultural Conference Center at 252 Poplar Grove Road in Boone.
The workshop is free and open to the public. It is geared toward helping commercial and organic farmers, but smaller scale gardeners with an interest in advanced soil management or organic production are also welcome. Area extension agent Richard Boylan will present the workshop, which is an updated version of a Cover Cropping workshop he presented at the 2010 Organic Growers School in Asheville earlier this year. The New River Organic Growers Cooperative will be offering a series of educational meetings for growers throughout 2010. You do not need to be an NROG member to attend.
Free Beekeeping Workshop May 4
The Watauga County Beekeeper's Association invites the public to learn about how to keep bees and manage them naturally with local beekeeper Burton Moomaw. The meeting will be held on May 4 at the Agricultural Conference Center, located at 252 Poplar Grove Road in Boone. A question-and-answer session will begin at 7 p.m. with the educational program beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Contact the Watauga Extension Service for more information, 264-3061.