News From the Market

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School will soon be out, and right around the corner, summer 2019 will be officially starting. Hopefully, our schedules will lighten up a little; maybe then you will have the time to visit the Robeson County Farmers Market located in downtown Lumberton on the corner of 8th and Elm Streets. The official hours are Wednesdays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. until 1 p.m., or until the last vendor sells out of produce, running from May through December. The market has a lot going on right now, starting with a new market manager. Her name is April Pittman, a Lumberton native, agricultural teacher, and mother of four. She is passionate about local foods and brings a lot of energy to the market. We are excited to have her join our market. When you visit the market, make plans to stop by the manager’s booth to meet April and maybe sign up for our new electronic mailing list.

I also need to mention, for the sake of our market and food safety, we are asking you to leave your four-legged friends at home. We all love our pets, and many consider them as children, but often the produce is on ground level and easy access for a pooch poo-poo or other accidental contamination. For the sake of our customers, our produce, and the desire to sell reasonably safe food, we are restricting our market as a pet-free zone. We fully appreciate your compliance honoring our request.

Mark your calendars for the last Saturday in June (29) for our 9th Annual Summer Extravaganza at the market. This is where staff from North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, join forces with market vendors. The vendors grow the produce and donate it for the Extravaganza. Then the Extension staff and volunteers wash, peel, dry, chop, dice, shred, stir, process, package, cook, and quickly chill as we practice our food safety skills, led by our Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Janice Fields. The purpose of the Extravaganza is to highlight our local farmers and their products in free, tasty recipes, encouraging you to buy from our local growers. I have said many times that investing in our local economy grows our economy.

We plan to spotlight the importance of our pollinators Saturday, June 22, during Pollinator Day at the Market. Pollinator decline is a worldwide phenomenon. Pollinators play a vital role in our food system, solely responsible for providing one-third of our food. Many reading this wonder, “Well, what can I do?”  Visit us at the market to find out more. Everyone can help build a more favorable ecosystem to support our native pollinators. We can provide water, shelter, and a more diverse food source in our own backyard. Pollination is not the primary purpose of these workers, it is a beneficial secondary action that happens in their pursuit of nectar and pollen as a food source.

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

NC State University and N.C. A&T State University are collectively committed to positive action to secure equal opportunity and prohibit discrimination and harassment regardless of age, color, disability, family and marital status, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, and veteran status. NC State, N.C. A&T, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.