Catawba Valley Farmers Market celebrates National Farmers Market Week

5
 Photos by Patrick Old
Cassondra Ratliff and daughter, Kaylynn, of New Castle, with their display of goat-milk soaps, lotion bars and lip balms.
Frankie Garman of Walnut Hill Farm in Catawba Valley, helps customers choose grass-fed beef.

Celebrate with drawings for gift certificates, free hot dogs and music

Catawba Valley Farmers Market (CVFM) joins markets across the country in celebrating National Farmers Market Week from August 5-11. CVFM will offer drawings for CVFM gift certificates, free hot dogs and music by Woodsong, on Thursday, August 9. Hot dogs will be available between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m.

As demand for local food continues to grow, so too have the opportunities for America’s farmers to market fresh food directly to the consumer. According to statistics recently released by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), farmers markets and farm stands account for roughly $2 billion of the $3 billion that Americans spend annually on farm-direct products. This revenue, in turn, supports the livelihoods of more than 165,000 mostly small and mid-sized farms and ranches.

The Catawba Valley Farmers Market began in 2010, and currently hosts 12 farmers and craftsmen selling a wide variety of products, including produce, fruits, grass-fed beef, pork products, fresh eggs, baked goods, native flowers and shrubs, garden plants, mums, as well as handmade arts and crafts. In the 2017 season, CVFM generated more than $41,000 for these local producers, a valuable economic boost for the region.

Louise Garman and her husband, Frankie, of Walnut Hill Farm in the Catawba Valley, says “We have been vendors of grass-fed beef and pork sausage and bacon since the Market started in 2010. The Market has been a special place to not only sell our products but to enjoy fellowship with friends and neighbors.”

Selling their products at CVFM has created extra income not only for full-time farmers/growers and craftsmen, but also for stay-at-home moms, retirees on fixed incomes, hobbyists and young beginning farmers.

“Farmers markets play a vital role not just in generating real income for farmers, but in forming a healthy, prosperous food system,” says Jen Cheek, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “By providing the opportunity for farmers to connect directly with consumers, markets serve as education centers. Vendors are teaching customers about agriculture and sharing recipes and new foods with their neighbors. Markets are making people and communities stronger and healthier.”

The Catawba Valley Farmers Market is a collaborative project of the VA Tech Catawba Sustainability Center, the County of Roanoke, Catawba Valley Ruritan Club, and the Catawba community. It is the mission of the CVFM to foster community fellowship while providing the Catawba community and nearby areas with fresh, locally produced food and traditional handicrafts. CVFM is located at the Catawba Community Center, 4965 Catawba Creek Road (Route 779), Catawba, VA 24070. The Market is open each Thursday from 3:30 to 7:00 p.m., from mid-May to mid-October, rain or shine. The location is a Roanoke County park, with playground, picnic shelter, green space, basketball court and restrooms and is handicap-accessible.

The Market website (catawbafarmersmarket.com) gives more information and includes the weekly newsletter, with updates on available products, musical entertainment and other special events. Ann G. Harrell, Market Manager, may be contacted via email at catawbafarmersmarket@outlook.com.

 

-Submitted by Ann G. Harrell