Collards, Crafts and Community 2023

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All the heavy frost we have recently seen blanketing our landscapes definitely suggests winter is coming and ushering in the Christmas season! The chill in the air reminds me of retreating into the house for some warm mulled apple cider, or a frothy cup of hot chocolate, with miniature marshmallows of course. Unfortunately, the holiday season often brings a sense of urgency to “get it all done” instead of peace and tranquility that is portrayed on cards and in holiday movies. I would like to recommend an option for you where you can make one visit and potentially solve several tasks.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, and the Robeson County Farmers Market are sponsoring the 10th Annual Very Local Holiday Festival. This very successful event gives you the advantage of making one stop to continue supporting your local farmers by purchasing your holiday greens, sweet potatoes, and even meats or proteins. Not only can you fulfill your grocery list while giving much-needed support to our local community, you can also browse many local artisans who will be marketing their wares. We have been very fortunate in the past with the excellent quality and unique crafts that have been offered at the Very Local Holiday Festival. Just in case you are not aware, I would like to mention we have local artisans whose crafts rival anything you could possibly purchase elsewhere. We will be highlighting some of the crafts and crafters on our Facebook page this coming week. You can find it at North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center.

I know there will be all of our favorite winter greens, sweet potatoes, and locally-sourced meats such as pork and beef from our favorite local farmers. We will have soy candles, scents, lotions, wood furniture, crocheted items, porch signs, door hangers, water-color hand painted greeting cards, hand-sculpted pottery, wheel thrown bowls, mugs, handmade jewelry just too whet your shopping appetite. Nonetheless we also have locally-sourced Alpaca fibers spun into dryer balls, headbands, hats, mittens, socks, or felted shoe inserts. How is that for variety! Here again is an excellent opportunity to buy a unique, one-of-a-kind gift for that special someone with the economic advantage of building our own community. I don’t have to tell you money spent with locals will be compounded through our community.

In case I have not piqued your interest yet, we plan to offer our market sourced sweet potatoes and sausage to offer samples of sweet potato biscuits and sausage with creamy hot chocolate to add to your shopping experience. Don’t forget to register for the $25 giveaway at the end of the festival. The Very Local Holiday Festival will be next Saturday, December 3, at one of the longest running farmer markets in the state, downtown Lumberton at the corner of 8th St. and Elm. The hours for the market are 7:00 a.m. until sellout or noon, but for this event, the festival crafters will be ready to sell from 8:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Please, let’s all do our part and buy local!

For more information, contact Mack Johnson, Extension Horticultural Agent, at 910-671-3276, by Email at, or visit our website.