Posts

More Food Trucks on the Way for Farmers Market

The Vance County Regional Farmers Market will be opening on Saturday, April 27 for the season, according to market manager Tracy Madigan.

Following a decision made by the Vance County Board of Commissioners at their Monday night meeting, there will be a greater presence of food trucks at the market this year.

Vance County Manager Jordan McMillen told WIZS News, “The popularity of food trucks is undeniable. They are beginning to gain notoriety in this area as they’ve already done in the triangle, and ultimately they can serve as a good way of drawing people to the market who may have never visited.”

“Specifically, at the farmers market, they have experimented with a food truck already and it has added an exciting and different dimension to the market. As individuals become familiar with the local food trucks this should improve the overall attendance at the market and introduce new patrons to the market. We see food trucks as a compliment to the market and believe it may also open up opportunities to push products from the farm to the table, complimenting the existing vendors as well.”

Food trucks, in general, have been in the news in our area in recent months, specifically when Gavin’s Grub Hub, owned and operated by Gavin Jackson, was looking for a semi-permanent location and wound up receiving a six-month approval from the City of Henderson to operate. We’ve also seen Backyard BBQ, which typically locates in the old Armory parking lot on Dabney Drive.

These additional approvals may indicate that our local leaders are getting more comfortable with food trucks and keeping in tune with what consumers have been enjoying for at least a decade or more in other larger urban areas.

Vance Co. Regional Farmers Market to Reopen in Late April, New Vendors Welcome

Paul McKenzie, agricultural extension agent for Vance and Warren County Cooperative Extension, was on Thursday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program to discuss the opening of the Vance County Regional Farmers Market in late April.

According to McKenzie, the VCRFM, located at 210 Southpark Dr. in Henderson, will kick off the season by opening on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Additional Wednesday hours will be added in late May.

McKenzie said this standard opening date coincides with the time “produce starts coming in and folks are getting the bug for spring planting.”

Early in the growing season, McKenzie said fresh produce – greens, peas, potatoes and onions – as well as flowering plants are plentiful.

In addition to produce and plants, the market includes vendors selling handmade, high-quality crafts, homemade baked goods, and locally produced pork, sausage and beef.

Locally produced fresh eggs are also a fan-favorite. “There’s just a difference in the taste and in the texture,” said McKenzie. “It’s hard to turn back once you’ve gone the fresh eggs route.”

When visitors first come to the market, they should expect to be greeted by Tracy Madigan, manager for the VCRFM. “When you walk in, you’ll be greeted by our friendly and outgoing market manager,” McKenzie said. “Tracy will greet you with a smile and help you find the products that you are looking for.”

McKenzie said this friendliness extends to the rest of the market experience as people interact with each other and build a sense of community.

“Our customers enjoy speaking to the vendors and getting to know the farmers. There’s a saying ‘know your farmer, know your food.’”

The freshness of the food sold at the market can’t be beaten, according to McKenzie. “You’re getting something that was picked the previous afternoon and brought to you as fresh as possible. You can find quality products at the grocery store, but it’s probably been on a truck for a couple of days, and potentially much longer. You can’t beat the freshness, and freshness equals flavor.”

Supporting local people and the local economy is also a benefit of shopping at the market. “When you buy here, you are supporting mom-and-pop enterprises, you are supporting someone who is trying to add something to the local community,” said McKenzie.

The VCRFM is currently accepting new vendors. Types of acceptable products include local handmade crafts, produce, plants, farm products and homemade baked goods with proper certification.

The market offers vendors electricity, convenient outlets and ceiling fans inside a comfortable, covered environment.

There is an application process and a $30 application fee for interested vendors. Each day the vendor participates in the market also requires a $10 fee.

For more information about the VCRFM, please contact either Tracy Madigan at [email protected] or (252) 598-0814 or Paul McKenzie at [email protected] or (252) 438-8188. You may also check out the VCRFM’s Facebook page by clicking here.

To hear the Town Talk interview with Paul McKenzie in its entirety, please click here.

Vance Co. Regional Farmers Market Announces 2019 Advisory Board Meeting Dates

-Information courtesy Paul McKenzie, Agricultural Extension Agent, Vance/Warren Counties, NC Cooperative Extension

The Advisory Board for the Vance County Regional Farmers Market was established in early 2014 for the purpose of making recommendations for the operation, promotion, support and growth of the Market. The Board generally has four meetings each year, all of which are open to the public. The Board is always glad to receive comments from the public.

This year (2019), the Board will meet on the following dates: March 14, May 2, August 1 and November 7. Each of these meetings will convene at the Vance County Regional Farmers Market at 2 p.m. The address is 210 Southpark Dr., Henderson, NC

For more information, please contact either of the following: Tracy Madigan, Market Manager ([email protected] or 252-598-0814) or Paul McKenzie, Agricultural Extension Agent ([email protected] or 252-438-8188).

Vance Co. Regional Farmers Market to Hold 2019 Vendor Meeting

-Information courtesy Paul McKenzie, Agricultural Extension Agent, NC Cooperative Extension

In a few short weeks, spring will be here and the Vance County Regional Farmers Market will once again open for business. Anyone who is interested in becoming a vendor for the 2019 season is invited to our annual Vendor Meeting on Thursday, March 7, 2019, at 5:30 pm.

The meeting will take place at the Farmers Market, which is located at 210 Southpark Drive in Henderson. A light dinner will be served.

Topics for discussion include a review of the guidelines and application, input on the opening date, procedures review and more.

For more information, please contact the Market Manager, Tracy Madigan, at [email protected] or 252-598-0814.

Madigan, Vance Co. Regional Farmers Market Manager, Reflects on 2018 Season

With only three Saturdays remaining before the Vance County Regional Farmers Market (VCRFM) wraps its 2018 season, Market Manager Tracy Madigan urges customers to stock up on fall produce – such as sweet potatoes, collards and greens – while they still can.

The market will close after 1 p.m. on Saturday, December 8th and will remain closed until mid-April of 2019. Rental of the VCRFM is available all year long and is particularly popular during the holiday season.

According to Madigan, it has been a great year for vendors and produce variety. “We had a really good year as far as increasing the number of vendors,” said Madigan. “That has provided more variety and greater quantities of produce.”

In addition to produce, Madigan said the number of regular craft vendors selling everything from handmade jewelry to candles has increased, along with the offering of baked goods.

Madigan reported that the customer count has remained steady at 9,000 – 10,000 visitors despite a surge in numbers during the peak summer season. This year’s pattern of inclement weather, especially during the spring and fall months, may have contributed to the customer stagnation.

“It has been a really strange year for the farmers weather-wise as well, but they have still come through with a lot of good produce and variety,” Madigan said.

Another draw to the market this season includes recent landscaping improvements courtesy the Cooperative Extension-based Master Gardeners.

“The Master Gardeners came into a grassy area around the market that previously flooded all of the time and made walkways and benches. Now it’s a nice area to enjoy and get some ideas of plants and flowers for your own yard,” said Madigan.

The addition of Gavin’s Grub Hub, a food truck operated by owner Gavin Jackson, is also bringing visitors in. “Gavin is a huge draw,” Madigan said. “Anytime we advertise that he’s coming, people show up to get their breakfast, brunch or lunch and are always pleased. He has also catered several events for the market.”

Of course, the best feedback comes directly from the mouths of visitors. “We get feedback all of the time from people who say they enjoy it and have made friends. It’s a relaxed, fun and local environment. I truly appreciate the patronage and support from the community,” Madigan said.

Madigan is pleased with the progress VCRFM has made over the years and said she can see its reach extending. “It is a regional market. The first two or three years it was mostly Vance and Granville county patrons; we are getting more visitors from Warren and Franklin now.”

In the future, Madigan would love to see VCRFM become a full-time operation. “I wish we could get someone full-time and get enough customers to run it six or seven days a week. That would really make it an alternative to fast food and grocery stores.”

For additional information on renting the VCRFM for your next event, please contact the Vance County Cooperative Extension Center at (252) 438-8188.

This Weekend is Your Last Chance to Shop VCRFM Before Thanksgiving!

-Information courtesy Tracy Madigan, Market Manager, Vance County Regional Farmers Market

This Saturday’s market will be your last opportunity to purchase locally grown fresh produce to enhance your Thanksgiving feast! Saturday is also our annual Handcrafted Holiday Market, so you will find lots of unique gifts, decorations and goodies for the holidays as well!

Our local farmers will have a variety of fall produce including apples, beef, beets, butter beans, butternut squash, cabbage, collards, eggs, eggplant, fresh herbs, mixed greens, mustard greens, onions, pork, potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, turnip greens, and sweet potatoes.

You will also find baked goods, local wines, canned vegetables, chow-chow, sauces, jams, preserves, honey and molasses.

Don’t forget to add a couple of bottles of wine to your shopping list to enjoy with your turkey and fixings or as gifts for special friends!

Meet and mingle with your friends and neighbors in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere while you shop. Be sure to ask the vendors about their produce and products and leave knowing you have purchased the freshest foods and most unique crafts our area has to offer.

The Vance County Regional Farmers Market is located at 210 Southpark Dr. off of Beckford Dr. and is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. through December 8, 2018.

Contacts:

Market Manager: Tracy Madigan @ 252-598-0814

Extension Agent: Paul McKenzie @ 252-438-8188

**VCRFM accepts and welcomes SNAP/EBT**

(This is not a paid advertisement)

Don’t Miss VCRFM’s Handcrafted Holiday Market – Sat. Nov. 17

-Information courtesy Tracy Madigan, Market Manager, Vance County Regional Farmers Market

The Vance County Regional Farmers Market Handcrafted Holiday Market will be held Saturday, November 17, from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. The annual event will feature some of the area’s best craftsmen, artists, bakers and farmers.In addition to fantastic fresh fall produce, meats, eggs, local honey, jams, jellies, sauces, baked goods and plants, there will be 25 craft vendors with one-of-a-kind handmade items. Find the perfect gift for that special someone, or even yourself! Peruse the vast array of unique handmade crafts including knitwear, glassware, pottery, candles, soaps, wines, wreaths, woodcrafts, jewelry, original artwork and much more.

Grab breakfast, brunch or lunch during your visit at Gavin’s Grub Hub. Chef Gavin Jackson will be serving a number of delicious meal choices to suit any palate.

Check out the array of delectable desserts entered in The Daily Dispatch’s Taste of Tri-County Dessert Contest. Entries will be on display in the farmers market classroom. The judging will be from noon to 1:00 p.m.

The fall produce season is in full swing with a variety of fresh, locally grown produce available. Apples, beef, beets, butter beans, butternut squash, cabbage, collards, eggs, eggplant, fresh herbs, mixed greens, mustard greens, onions, pork, potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, turnip greens, and sweet potatoes, are just a few of the tasty foods you will find at the market.

Fill your pantry with baked goods, local wines, canned vegetables, chow-chow, sauces, jams and preserves, honey and molasses.

Meet and mingle with your friends and neighbors in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere while you shop. Be sure to ask the vendors about their produce and products and leave knowing you have purchased the freshest foods and most unique crafts our area has to offer.

The Vance County Regional Farmers Market is located at 210 Southpark Dr. off of Beckford Dr. and is open Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. through December 8, 2018.

Contacts: 
Market Manager: Tracy Madigan @ 252-598-0814
Extension Agent: Paul McKenzie @ 252-438-8188
(This is not a paid advertisement)

Go With the ‘Flo’ – Vance Co. Farmers Market Will be Open This Sat.

-Information courtesy Tracy Madigan, Market Manager, Vance County Regional Farmers Market

Looks like we may have dodged the wrath of Florence. Based on the forecasts for our area, it appears it will be safe for us to open this Saturday. Hopefully, our power will be on and we will be operating BAS – Business As Usual. (Check our FaceBook page Saturday morning to be sure). This means it will be the perfect opportunity for you to get out and shop for fresh local produce, meats, eggs and unique crafts. (By Saturday morning you will probably be going stir-crazy cooped up inside, so come on out and visit with us awhile.). Though it may be a bit windy and rainy, remember, our farmers market is enclosed so you will stay dry and comfortable while you shop. See you at the VCRFM on Saturday!

What You Will Find at the Market This Week

Apples, beets, butter beans, collards, cucumbers, eggs, eggplant, garlic, grapes, green beans, herbs, kale, lettuce, mixed greens, mustard greens, okra, onions, peaches, peppers, pork, potatoes, peas (crowder and purple hull), squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes (green, red and heirloom), turnips, & zucchini. You may even find watermelon!

We also have plenty of canned vegetables, honey, molasses, salsa, chow-chow, BBQ sauces, jellies, jams, soaps, bath salts, scented candles, jewelry, cupcakes and unique handmade crafts.

Anticipated Vendors – September 15

Adcock Farm 
Donation Station
Eclectic Peacock
Jerri’s Things
JW Creek Farms
LouMag Ent.

Pretty Tough Stuff
Short’s Family Farms

Vann’s Jams & Produce
Winter Soap Co.
Woodwick Designs
and perhaps a few more 
Contacts:

Market Manager: Tracy Madigan @ 252-598-0814

Extension Agent: Paul McKenzie @ 252-438-8188

VCRFM open Wednesdays & Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at 210 South Park Dr., Henderson

VCRFM Welcomes SNAP/EBT

The Farmers Market building is available for rent. Contact Annette Roberson, Vance County Cooperative Extension Center, 252-438-8188 for pricing and available dates.

(This is not a paid advertisement)

Begin Your Labor Day Weekend at the Vance Co. Regional Farmers Market

-Information courtesy Tracy Madigan, Market Manager, Vance County Regional Farmers Market
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union.

This Labor Day, take time to remember your local farmers by shopping at your VCRFM. Along with hunters and gatherers, farmers were the original laborers.

We are experiencing challenging times in American agriculture. However, our local farmers have stayed strong and resilient. That’s why, as we gather with family and friends to mark Labor Day, it couldn’t be a more appropriate time to say “Thank You” to the folks who provide affordable, abundant, and safe foods for us.

It takes hard work to plant seeds, care for crops and raise livestock. It takes hard work to harvest our food. It takes hard work to pack it, transport it, display it and sell it at your farmers market. Every day, our farmers get these jobs done well, and their commitment benefits us all.

Love getting local fresh honey at your VCRFM? Did you think there’s “no real maintenance involved” in caring for beehives? Think again. Owning a colony is a huge responsibility. Safely transferring a queen and her family into a hive, protecting them from environmental dangers, and bottling an appropriate amount of honey from them is serious and often hard work.

Your VCRFM also offers unique, one-of-a-kind crafts from handmade soaps, cloths, towels, candles and clothing to wreaths, jewelry, woodcrafts, canned and baked goods. All of which took hard work and skill from local artisans.

So, as you begin your Labor Day weekend, stop by the VCRFM and pick up the items you need for your celebration. Whether you’re cooking hamburgers or steaks, ribs or roasts, you’ll find it at the farmers market along with your favorite fresh veggies and fruits. Grab a bite from Gavin’s Grub Hub for breakfast (or lunch) and some craft items to decorate your table.

This Labor Day, please join me in taking this chance to support your local VCRFM vendors and remember the hard work of folks who provide food and crafts for our community.

What You Will Find at the Market This Week:

Beets, butter beans, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, eggs, eggplant, garlic, grapes, green beans, mixed greens, onions, peaches, pork, potatoes, peas, squash, tomatoes (green, red & heirloom), turnips and watermelon.We also have plenty of canned vegetables, honey, molasses, salsa, chow-chow, BBQ sauces, jellies, jams, soaps, bath salts, scented candles, cupcakes and unique handmade crafts.

Anticipated Vendors – September 1, 2018:

Cakes Delish
Culver Farms Honey

Donation Station
Gavin’s Grub Hub
Imperial Stitching
JASM Farms
Jerri’s Things
JW Creek Farms
LouMag Ent.

Short’s Family Farms
Winter Soap Co.
Woodwick Designs
Contacts:

Market Manager: Tracy Madigan @ 252-598-0814

Extension Agent: Paul McKenzie @ 252-438-8188

VCRFM open Wednesdays & Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

VCRFM Welcomes SNAP/EBT

The Farmers Market building is available for rent. Contact Annette Roberson, Vance County Cooperative Extension Center, 252-438-8188 for pricing and available dates.

(This is not a paid advertisement)

Vance Co. Regional Farmers Market Transitioning to Fall & Winter Crops

-Information courtesy Tracy Madigan, Market Manager, Vance County Regional Farmers Market

The Vance County Regional Farmers Market (VCRFM) is beginning to transition from summer produce to our fall and winter crops. While you will still find mouthwatering peaches, watermelons and cantaloupes, you will also begin to see turnips, mixed greens, and winter squashes – such as the cushaw squash –  showing up at the market.

The cushaw squash is not one that is readily found in the grocery store but is now available at your VCRFM. They are hard to miss with their vibrant green stripes and large size. This squash is extremely versatile with several delicious ways to use it!

The cushaw squash, also known as the Japanese pie pumpkin, cushaw pumpkin, and silver-seed gourd, is a species of winter squash originally from the south of Mexico. This annual herbaceous plant is cultivated in the Americas for its nutritional value; its flowers, shoots, and fruits are all harvested.

It is a large (sometimes up to 20 pounds) squash with a characteristic green and white striped pattern. It has a mildly sweet taste and behaves like a pumpkin or delicata squash when it is cooked. It is high in vitamins C and A, which make it excellent for your immune system.

The flowers are orange or yellow and bloom in July or August. The plant grows about 1 foot high and spreads 10–15 feet. It likes well-drained soil and has both male and female flowers.

It also has medicinal properties. The flesh of the squash may be used for burns and eczema.

The cushaw squash is easy to grow, resistant to pests, easy to store, versatile to cook with, good for you, inexpensive, and yummy! It preserves so well, you can enjoy cushaw all year long.

Perhaps the easiest way to use a cushaw squash (or any winter squash really) is to simply roast it in the oven. Any desired spices can be used and you can customize this however you’d like. Make big batches of roasted squashes and other vegetables on the weekend and have in the fridge to add to soups, casseroles, or other meals on busy nights.

Pick up a cushaw, cooking instructions, and sample recipes at your VCRFM this week!

What You Will Find at the Market This Week:

Beets, butter beans, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, eggs, eggplant, garlic, green beans, mixed greens, onions, peaches, pork, potatoes, peas, squash, tomatoes (green, red & heirloom), turnips and watermelon. We also have plenty of canned vegetables, honey, molasses, salsa, chow-chow, BBQ sauces, jellies, jams, soaps, bath salts, scented candles, cupcakes and unique handmade crafts.

Anticipated Vendors – August 25, 2018

Adcock Farm
Culver Farms Honey
Donation Station
The Eclectic Peacock
Gavin’s Grub Hub
Imperial Stitching
JW Creek Farms
LouMag Ent.
Material Blessings
Pretty Tough Stuff Jewelry
Short’s Family Farms
Winter Soap Co.

Contacts:

Market Manager: Tracy Madigan @ 252-598-0814

Extension Agent: Paul McKenzie @ 252-438-8188

VCRFM open Wednesdays & Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

VCRFM Welcomes SNAP/EBT

The Farmers Market building is available for rent. Contact Annette Roberson, Vance County Cooperative Extension Center, 252-438-8188 for pricing and available dates.

(This is not a paid advertisement)