The Town of North Wilkesboro’s Wilkes County Farmers’ Market is up and running – since late April as a matter of fact - at the Yadkin Valley Marketplace on the CBD Loop in downtown.

Every Tuesday from 3:30-5:30 p.m. and every Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to noon, expect to find friendly and interesting people selling many of the best flavors produced in Wilkes County.

Plus, it’s a dog-friendly market, complete with a watering station for canine friends on hot summer walks.

Currently, there are 15 or so vendors selling blueberries, lettuce, cucumbers, yellow squash, cherry tomatoes, radishes, carrots, peas, early onions, spring honey and other produce, plus plants (herbs, flowers and succulents), baked goods, beef, pork, lavender products (soap, lotion, tea, bundles etc.), other homemade soap, dried apples, jams and jellies, jewelry and more.

A blacksmith and chair-maker also is there demonstrating and selling his goods.

Coming up soon, look for tomatoes, corn, okra, green beans and other summer vegetables, as well as peaches, apples and other fruit.

The market still needs a flower vendor and someone selling cheese.

Local Master Gardeners plan to sponsor another tomato-tasting event in July. The “pumpkin patch” is scheduled to return in late September.

Although vendors generally must live in Wilkes and produce what they sell in this county, producers from nearby counties are accepted at the market on a case-by-case basis. The rules also say vendors must be the original producers of all items for sale.

Vendors must pay a one-time fee of $50 and an annual fee of $10. This money is used to promote the market.Vendor applications are available at http://www.downtownnorthwilkesboro.com/see-do-downtown/wilkes-county-farmers-market.

Rule dictating what can be sold there ensures that the Wilkes Farmers’ Market provides access to fresh, locally-produced nutritious food for reasonable prices.

Most vendors are glad to talk to you about how they produce what they’re selling and some offer free samples.

Courtney Tevepaugh, family and consumer sciences extension agent at the Wilkes County Cooperative Extension Service, provides cooking demonstrations at the market using products sold there.

Shopping at a farmers’ market is one of the best ways to actually promote sustainability, as well as help support America’s rural livelihoods and preserve farmland.

Farmers markets provide a practical entry points for beginning farmers and some other entrepreneurs, allowing them to start small, test the market and grow their businesses.

Strolling through and making purchases at a farmers’ market also is a great way to become engaged with, learn about and support your community.

The Health Foundation funds the Backpack Voucher Program, which provides local children who are food insecure with “Market Bucks” (vouchers) that can be redeemed at the Wilkes Farmers’ Market for fresh fruits and vegetables. This is done in cooperation with the Wilkes County Health Department.

Debit cards can be used to obtain tokens for making purchases at the market if you don’t happen to have cash, plus EBT cards are accepted.

For more information about the Wilkes County Farmers’ Market, call Crystal Keener, the Town of North Wilkesboro’s tourism and marketing director, at 336-667-7129, ext. 3021.

Also for more information, look for market manager Garrett Griffin, a young farmer who sells at the market, or fellow vendor Brenda Dembowski.

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