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Hendersonville Farmers Market celebrates National Farmers Market Week

Abigail Steiner of Bee-utiful Farm and Garden assists a customer at the Hendersonville Farmers Market. Abigail Steiner of Bee-utiful Farm and Garden assists a customer at the Hendersonville Farmers Market.

The Hendersonville Farmers Market joined markets across the country in celebrating National Farmers Market Week this week.

 

The market operates every Saturday at the Historic Train Depot on Maple Street from 8 a.m.-1pm through Oct. 31, with holiday markets on Nov. 28 and Dec. 5.

In the midst of a global pandemic, farmers markets — like all other small businesses — have been scrambling to continue operations for the farmers and communities that depend on them. Market managers have been at the forefront of adapting rapid solutions and innovation to protect staff, customers, and community. When conventional food supply chains failed at the start of the pandemic, farmers markets and local food systems clearly displayed the resiliency of short supply chains and interest in local foods spiked nationwide.

National Farmers Market Week is an annual celebration of farmers markets coordinated by the Farmers Market Coalition, a membership-based 503(c)3 nonprofit organization that supports farmers markets nationwide through training, technical assistance, and network-building. This year, the campaign is centered around the essential role that farmers markets play in the food system as demonstrated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hendersonville Farmers Market, which began this year, and currently hosts roughly 30 vendors on any given Saturday at its location in front of the Historic Train Depot on Maple Street. Products offered by local farmers and artisans range from produce to eggs and meat, to fresh coffee, baked goods, cut flowers, plants, crafts and hot tamales. Live music from local musicians is also a weekly staple.

Hendersonville Farmers Market is organized by Friends of Downtown Hendersonville, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, which is run through the same Downtown Hendersonville Program that produces community events including Rhythm & Brews, Bearfootin’ Artwalk and Treat Street, among others. Ambitious plans were in place to make a big splash for Hendersonville Farmers Market’s inaugural year, but 2020 had another plan. Thanks to community support, sponsorship support and dedicated volunteers, Hendersonville Farmers Market opened on June 6, just four weeks after the originally scheduled opening day of May 9. Hendersonville Farmers Market has taken the SafeHendo Pledge, promising to create a safe shopping environment by adhering to local, state and federal guidelines pertaining to the pandemic.

With funding provided by Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, Hendersonville Farmers Market offers a Double SNAP program, doubling dollar amounts purchased on EBT cards. In the month of June alone, $726 in EBT tokens were purchased at the market over four Saturdays. When doubled through the Double SNAP program, this equals $1,452 to be spent on local, healthy food at the market. “It’s great to see such an impact only in our first month of operation,” said Market Manager Meredith Friedheim. “Our community members clearly want to support each other, and our market is a perfect venue for that.” After each Saturday market, leftover produce is donated to the Hendersonville Rescue Mission.

The Hendersonville Farmers Market is coordinated and managed by the city's Downtown Program & Friends of Downtown Hendersonville organization and volunteers. Hendersonville Farmers Market thanks regional partners for their support, including the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Henderson County Partnership for Health, Agribusiness HC and Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.