Just days after spring was official, quite a few farmers markets across North Carolina opened with extended Saturday morning hours and mid-week markets.
To celebrate the season, I went to speak with POP Market farmer, Will Cramer, from Ever Laugher Farms. As we set up for the morning at the Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market, he shared his thoughts on markets past and future.
Mr. Cramer was one of the few farmers to tough out the weather every Saturday through the winter. Anyone living in the Triangle could tell you how cold it was, but bare shelves or sparse produce told another story.
“We knew it was going to be a hard season,” Cramer told me. Winter was just so much longer than anyone was prepared for. January started to warm up but February was much colder than was expected and many farmers lost what they had started to grow, so everyone was recovering from a rough start.
Despite the long winter, market patrons turned out to support nearly 30 local farmers and vendors for the first official spring market days. Mr. Cramer was also telling how excited he was for this year to see all the farmers back at market and the variety of produce they bring.
If you’re a CSA subscriber or regular market patron, you’re familiar with the limited variety compared to summers smorgasbord of nightshades, heirloom veggies and fruits. We consume far more sweet potatoes than the average eater (but we’re probably better for it).
With every new season, we see something we love: local farmers conversing with one another and trying new crops in hopes to add to their abundance and feed the local food appetite.
Happier famers make for joyful shoppers, and of course plentiful donations that serve agencies and meal service programs benefiting from the Donation Stations. As we move into our more varietal seasons, consider adding an extra item to shopping list for donation. Think of it as sharing a meal with a friend. We’re certain someone in need will get just as much out of those ripe tomatoes as you will.
Learn more about Donation Stations and find one at a market near you.