Down on the Farm
Market Season Starts March 28!
If you’re reading this post, I’m sure you are well aware the Saturday market season starts March 28 at Northside Harvest Park. What you might not know is the work that we do prior to Opening Day. Now, of course, there are a bunch of loose ends that always need attention — activities arranged, music booked, getting the opening bell-ringing lined up, etc. Those types of issues are ongoing, but we have one other huge task ahead of us as we prepare for opening day — farm visits.
What is a farm visit, and why do we do it? Well, first and foremost, we want to ensure the highest quality local foods are sold at
the market. We do our utmost to get great farmers to the market, because great farmers bring great produce and meat. Occasionally, however, you get someone who wants to cut corners, and might want to sell some items they purchased from a distributor or elsewhere. To protect our customers, and our farmers who play by the rules, we visit each farm who sells with us at least twice a year. We do it to make sure that the crops they bring are the ones they grow, so that when you have a question about an item (“is it organic?” “did you use pesticide?”), you will get the answer straight from the grower. You will know it is local, and you will know how it is grown. Try and ask that of your big box grocer!
Our farm visits also serve another purpose. So far as we know, we are the only market or retailer who makes farm visits and sends an actual farmer on these visits. Our Farm Manager, Jimmie Tate, coordinates the farm visits, and it allows us to send an expert to our farmers. It allows us to help farmers if they have technical questions, it allows us to learn from our farmers, and it helps farmers build communication and community. We can share ideas and make connections that help us all grow. Farmers are busy people, most of ours work full-time jobs in addition to farming, so Jimmie will be able to share knowledge as he visits from farm to farm. It is one way we help meet our mission of growing the supply of healthy, local food in Spartanburg County.
Next time you see Jimmie, ask him what he learned on his latest farm visits!
See you March 28 —