Get Local This Holiday Season

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The aroma of fresh cut evergreens, nutmeg, and hot chocolate brings many fond memories to mind, but also suggests to me that Christmas is coming. The holiday season has officially begun. For many, the highlights of these winter holidays include fantastic, family recipe-laden meals and shopping, shopping, and more shopping. Many folks prefer to give a hand-crafted gift over a store-bought gift. There is a remedy that will solve both these quests.

Next Saturday, December 1, 2018, the Robeson County Farmers Market, along with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, will be sponsoring our 5th Annual Very Local Holiday Festival, located at the corner of 8th and Elm Streets, from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. We will honor and spotlight our local produce farmers and local craftsmen during this festival. Supporting our local businesses has proven that more money stays within our community and can multiply in our economy up to nine times the original amount spent, so please continue to support our great county and buy local.

Philosophically killing two birds with one stone, you will also be able to find a unique, one-of-a-kind gift for that person on your list who may not be the easiest person to shop for. You will be able to choose items from local crafters such as handmade pottery, jewelry, homemade soaps, hand-knitted clothing articles, painted wood décor, and more. We will also have face painting for the young, or young at heart!

Janice Fields, Extension Family and Consumer Science Agent, plans to spotlight some local produce with free, tasty samples at the festival. Recipes for these tastings will be available, so you can recreate these delectable dishes for your families yourself. You may just find a new recipe to impress your friends and family with.

Our growers have suffered great loss this year, especially with these current cool season crops. What wintergreen plants that weren’t destroyed by flooding were literally shredded and ripped from the ground in many situations due to the strong winds we endured in the last few months. A large percentage of the 2018 fall crops were either being sown or transplanted just prior to the havoc wreaked on us and our surrounding area by Florence and Michael. Our farmers are working hard to provide you with healthy, sustainable winter greens and produce. Please continue to support your farmers market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, as well as all our farmers.

As a side note, North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Science has announced the 2018 Disaster Relief Program, targeting farmers in any county that has been declared a disaster county by the President, which includes Robeson. The application is fairly straightforward and must be completed online. Farmers must present an FSA-578, obtained from the Farm Service Agency, as well as a W-9 tax form. The deadline to submit the application is December 10, 2018. See theHurricane Florence Agricultural Disaster Program of 2018 website for more information. Please call 910-671-3276 for more information or assistance with completing the online application.

For more information, contact Mack Johnson, Extension Horticultural Agent, at 910-671-3276, by email at mack_johnson@ncsu.edu, or visit our website.