Farmers market sees more action than normal
by Josh Carpenter
DENVER – With the summer quickly coming to a close, the Denver Farmers Market is seeing more traffic than normal, and Melinda Houser, family and consumer sciences agent for Lincoln County Cooperative Extension, said this is the best time of year for several fruits and vegetables.
“Tomatoes, corn, okra and pretty much any type of peppers are really good to eat right now,” Houser said. “Strawberries are long gone because they’re a very delicate fruit.”
Though some foods may look clean, about 65 percent of fruit and vegetables sold in grocery stores are imported from other countries, Houser said.
“The biggest problem people run into is not washing their food before they eat it,” Houser warned. “Some people will just pick up a piece of fruit and say, ‘Oh, that’s good to eat.’ You never know if it’s been sprayed or who’s touched it before and how it’s been handled. That’s a big issue.”
The Carolinas’ recent extreme heat has affected food as well as people, and some farmers have had trouble keeping their vegetables and fruits watered.
“If you can’t irrigate, it’s going to affect you big time,” Houser said. “It’s affecting everything a little bit, but if you can’t water or don’t have an irrigation system, you’re in trouble.”
To make people more aware of agriculture in Lincoln County, Cooperative Extension will hold four Farm-City Week events, beginning Saturday, July 30, with a homemade pizza demonstration.
“Typically, Farm-City Week is a nationally recognized program that is celebrated the week before Thanksgiving,” Libby Yarber, area agricultural extension agent, said. “Generally, though, the week before Thanksgiving we don’t have a lot of great food because of the weather.”
Cooperative Extension also was tired of doing what everyone else did to celebrate Farm-City Week, Yarber said.
Cooperative Extension will hold a Farm Table Breakfast to highlight the week’s events, Yarber said.
Business people and farmers from the area meet Tuesday, Aug. 2, from 7 to 8:30 a.m. for a free breakfast at the James Warren Citizens Center, 115 W. Main St., Lincolnton. Call 704-736-8452 to register. Carolina Farm Credit, a sponsor for the event, will collect canned foods for Christian ministries.
“We just want the farmers and the city business people to mingle and network,” Yarber said. “Economically and historically, agriculture has been very important to Lincoln County, and this breakfast will help people realize it.”
Farm-City Week activities
Other events during Farm-City Week:
• Saturday, July 30, from 9 a.m. to noon, at the farmers market, 3633 N.C. 16 N. Brian Rollins, of Good Wood Pizza, will sell homemade pizza for $6.
• Wednesday, Aug. 3, from 9 to 11 a.m. The Cooperative Extension demonstration kitchen, 115 W. Main St., Lincolnton, will host a Hmong Culture and Cooking session, led by Der Xiong. The Lincolnton area is home to one of the largest Hmong communities in the nation. The Hmong are a tribe in Vietnam whose members fought beside American soldiers during the war and have been persecuted, many for their Christianity, by the Vietnamese government since the war.
• Thursday, Aug. 4, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The Harvest Moon Grille hosts the final event at the Giles L. Martin Farmers Market shelter, 225 W. Walter St., Lincolnton. Harvest Moon will serve dinner for $12 for adults and $4 for children younger than 11. For tickets, call 704-736-8452 by Aug. 1.