2017 Sales Season Begins April 22

Vance County Regional Farmers Market 2017 Sales Season Begins April 22

The Vance County Regional Farmers Market will begin its 2017 sales season Saturday, April 22.  Market Manager Tracy Madigan says, “The Spring Fling Market will be open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  It will feature numerous craft vendors, bedding plants for the garden including vegetables, herbs, flowers, and shrubs and locally grown spring produce.

“There will also be baked goods, canned goods and pasture raised beef for sale.  Knowledgeable farmers and nursery vendors will be on hand to answer spring and summer planting and growing questions.”

The Farmers Market will be open Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. April 29 – May 27, then Wednesdays and Saturdays 7:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.beginning May 31.  Madigan says, “In addition to fresh local produce and products, the market will feature special events and gardening classes throughout the 2017 season.”

For more information about the Vance County Regional Farmers Market, visit online at, follow on Facebook, or Twitter.  Persons interested in selling at the VCRFM may contact Tracy Madigan, 252-598-0814 or Paul McKenzie at 252-438-8188.

The VCRFM is located at 210 Soutpark Dr., Henderson, NC, off Beckford Dr. behind DaVita Dialysis Center.

2017 Betsy Jeff Penn 4-H Summer Camp Announcement

It’s that time of the year again. For 100 years, 4-H summer camp has been a life-changing experience, offering campers a greater chance to learn, develop life skills and form attitudes that will help them to become self-directed, productive members of society.

Youth interact with people of different cultures and backgrounds, increasing interdependence, understanding and appreciation of others.  It may be their first experience being an equal member of a community.  Campers are exposed to professionals and role models who may lead career discussions.

Less focus is on competition and failure; more emphasis is on group cooperation and shared success.  Adventures, new experiences and skills learned in an outdoor environment at camp contribute to a positive sense of self.

Youth do not have to be in a 4-H club to participate.

Deadline to apply is March 31st.

Cost of camp is $100.00.  A deposit of $75.00 will hold your space.

Apply in person with Turner Pride, 4-H Youth Development Agent, 305 Young Street, Henderson, NC.

Call the Vance County Center of NC Cooperative Extension at 252-438-8188 or email for more information.

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, or veteran’s status.  In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.  North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, U. S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.

2017 Meeting Schedule for the Vance County Regional Farmers Market Advisory Board

2017 Meeting Schedule Vance County Regional Farmers Market Advisory Board

Paul McKenzie, Agricultural Extension Agent for Vance and Warren Counties, indicates the board will meet at 2 p.m. on the following dates:

February 2nd
May 4th
August 3rd
November 2nd

All meetings will be held at the Vance County Regional Farmers Market, 210 Southpark Dr. in Henderson.

Any changes to this schedule will be communicated to local media, and also posted at  Meetings are open to the public.  Questions regarding the Farmers Market Advisory Board may be directed to Paul McKenzie of Vance County Cooperative Extension at or 252-438-8188.

Additional contact information is as follows:

Paul McKenzie

Agricultural Extension Agent, Vance/Warren Counties
NC Cooperative Extension
305 Young St., Henderson, NC  27536
158 Rafters Ln., Warrenton, NC 27589
252.438.8188 (Vance)  252.257.3640 (Warren)

This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Vance County Cooperative Extension to host Forest Symposium

Healthy forests provide healthy habitat and healthy profits!

Learn how managing the health of your forest benefits wildlife and your bottom line. Come to the Vance County Regional Farmers Market on December 8th for a Forest Landowner Symposium with a great line up of speakers plus an optional tour.

All the details and registration information can be found here.

Sponsorship contributions are welcome and will be gratefully acknowledged in the program.

For more information, or 252-213-6095.

Mater Matters

Some folks eat tomatoes.  Some eat tomato sandwiches too.  And here in Henderson and other southern areas you often hear tomatoes referred to as “maters.”  For example, a bacon, lettuce and “mater” sandwich.

The theme Saturday, July 9 at the Vance County Regional Farmers Market is ‘Mater Matters.’

The market’s weekly newsletter, which is available by email, says, “A variety of fresh locally grown tomatoes is in abundance…Samples available at Saturday’s Market.  Take a taste and pick your favorite!”

Open 7:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturdays and Wednesdays.

For more information, call 252-598-0814, contact the Vance County Extension Center at 252-438-8188, or e-mail

The Market is located at 210 Southpark Dr., just off S. Beckford Dr. between Andrews Ave. and Dabney Dr.

See more about the Farmers Market online

See more about the Farmers Market on Facebook

Shop Local: Farmers Market

How often do you buy or even think about buying local? Whether it be from the Farmers Market, a local independently owned restaurant or business, a local artist, or directly from a local farmer, there are many great benefits to buying local goods and services.

Our first focus in this three part series features the Vance County Regional Farmers Market which opened in 2014. Through a series of grants from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund, the N.C. Department of Agriculture Farmland Preservation Fund, and the Vance County Farm Bureau, Henderson was able to build the first indoor heated market. Pete Burgess, who was instrumental in the formation of the Vance County Farmers Market said, “The idea for an indoor Farmers Market started in 2004. At the time farmers needed a source of income other than tobacco. Because it was a Tier 1 county, meaning it was a poor county, The Gold Leaf Foundation did a survey on what Vance County needed money for most. The foundation voted schools first, the rural fire department second, and an indoor Farmers Market third.  The Farm Bureau partnered with the Vance County Extension Service to see what we could do”.

The county gave roughly $50,000 towards the market and the rest was raised through grants and donations. When asked why the market wasn’t in a more centrally located space closer to downtown Burgess said, “At the time, it was the only land we could afford.” The Vance County Regional Farmers Market is located at 210 Southpark Dr. Henderson. It is just off of South Beckford Drive near the Social Security Office. It is a first class facility with water, rest rooms, electricity, a classroom, on-site parking, and covered sales space.

While shopping at the Farmers Market this past Saturday, April 23, Damon Brown was asked why he shopped there. He said, “I totally believe in supporting farmers, especially local farmers. It’s healthier produce because it’s fresher”. Damon’s mother Elva Small said, “I’ve always shopped at the Farmers Market. I take enough pills for health reasons so I want to make sure I can getVance Co. Regional Farmers Market (front) 042816 the healthiest food possible, and you meet such wonderful people here. My grandparents were farmers, so it also brings back such wonderful memories.”

WIZS News spoke with market manager Tracy Madigan during Saturday’s hustle and bustle. She oversees the vendors and answers questions the public might have while shopping at the market. When asked what is the value of buying locally and supporting farmers and artists at the market she replied, “For starters the taste of locally grown food is so much better. Most of the produce you buy from grocery stores has traveled so far by the time you get it, it’s 3-4 weeks old and from other countries. It’s most likely pumped with water to make it bigger. This takes away so much flavor. Another huge value is that not only do you know where your food comes from, but you’re putting money back into your county and state. You support that farmer, who then buys from another locally sourced business. It’s a cycle and the money stays here.”

Vance Co. Regional Farmers Market (side) 042816There are also many vendors at the Farmers Market who organically grow their products. They may not be certified organic because becoming certified is often costly, but customers can always ask vendors what practices they use to grow and raise their produce. It’s becoming increasingly important to people how what they are eating was grown or raised. People want to know if pesticides were used on the produce or if it was grown organically, if they eat animal products they want to know that that animal was raised humanely with no growth hormones or antibiotics pumped into it, and whether or not the produce is grown using Non-GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).

Another shopper on Saturday, Susan James said, “I buy from the Farmers Market because I know and trust many of the vendors. I can ask if their produce is organically grown. In this day and age with so many people getting cancer that is very important to me. Unless it’s marked organic, you can’t always get this level of quality at grocery stores plus the produce here at the Farmers Market is often more affordable. I’m also putting money back into my community.”

Vendors have increased steadily since the market opened in 2014. Madigan said, “Last year we had 35 vendors overall and those numbers will continue to increase as we move into May.” If interested in becoming a vendor, there is an annual $30 fee and a $10 fee on the days that you sell. Sellers must be from Vance, Granville, Warren, or Franklin counties, or Mecklinburg County in Virginia.  Fifty one percent of everything sold must have been produced or made by the seller. Everything must be hand grown or hand made. For more detailed guidelines or an application click here or email

Other great opportunities the Farmers Market provides are classes held throughout the selling season. These classes cover topics on various gardening and yard practices that the general public may want to increase their knowledge on. Some of the classes covered previously were proper mulching, adding native plants to your landscape, and how to grow lavender, just to name a few. This past Monday evening on April 25th, Wayne Rowland, Agricultural and Natural Resources Technician with the NC Cooperative Extension in Vance County, held a class on growing watermelon and cantaloupe successfully.

The center hopes to have cook offs and other special events in the future but it needs more “man-power”. Madigan said, “We would love to have more volunteers as we have a limited budget.” How wonderful it would be if people from all five counties made this a really big community oriented place for families to come, learn, and grow together.

The facility is available for rent and many people have used it for private functions. Vance Granville Community College used it on Thursday, April 21 for a luncheon on Emerging Consumer Markets for the Agricultural Business. Local businesses have rented it for luncheons, dinners, and customer appreciation events.

So you see, there are numerous reasons to get involved with your local Farmers Market wherever you are. Farmers Market patron Maggie Peck leaves us with this statement, “Buying local is a way to give back, a way to be responsible. It’s good for the farmers, it’s good for you, and it’s good for the planet. Plus, you meet the most interesting and wonderful people here.”

Market Hours: Saturdays- 7:30 am – 1:00pm and starting May 4th Wednesdays 7:30 am- Noon

To donate or volunteer click here or email

WIZS staff writer

Farmers Market Opens April 16th

The Vance County Regional Farmers Market opens for the 2016 season on Saturday, April 16th, and new vendors are welcome, according to Paul McKenzie, Agricultural Extension Agent for Vance and Warren Counties.

In a press release McKenzie wrote, “This first class facility, located at 210 Southpark Drive in Henderson, offers covered sales space, electricity and restrooms. A part-time Manager works to promote the market through various channels including traditional media, social media, signage, community events and more. Vendors are also provided with display tables for their products.”

The Market will be open on Saturdays, 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in April and will add Wednesday hours in May. The application fee is $30, with a daily setup fee of $10 per space.

McKenzie wrote, “Producers of fruits, vegetables, eggs, plants, meats and other farm products are especially encouraged to apply, although the market also allows the sale of baked goods, handmade crafts and certain other products.”

Complete Guidelines and an application form are available at, or by calling Vance County Cooperative Extension at 252-438-8188. Applications may be submitted at any time, but must be received at least three business days in advance of a vendor’s first sale date.

(Information received in a press release written by Paul McKenzie.)