The weather is warm, the local gardens are producing and the Downtown Valdosta Farm Days farmers market is in full swing in its second season selling fresh, local produce, food and garden items. Located at the historic Lowndes County Courthouse, the market will be open every first and third Saturday from April until October, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., rain or shine.
The city of Valdosta’s mayor and council established a goal to hold a farmer’s market in historic downtown Valdosta. After extensive research, planning and strategizing, Downtown Valdosta Farm days is well on its way into its second season and is growing more than ever imagined. The Valdosta Main Street Office hosted and managed the 2011 season. The support from the community was overwhelming! At the first market of the 2011 season, vendors were sold out within the first hour of being open. It was a true testament that this was something our community longed for.
Through networking and partnership, the South Health District, Lowndes County Partnership for Health and the Partnership for Healthy Living have also volunteered to help manage the market. With assistance from the new partner agencies, additions to this year’s market include the Wholesome Waves nutrition incentive program whose mission is to increase access to healthy, locally grown food at farmers markets by creating financial incentives for low-income shoppers through doubling the value of assistance benefits at these markets. The program will allow SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) participants to use their EBT cards to purchase fresh food at the market.
Farmers markets have become an integral part of the urban/farm linkage across the state and nation and have continued to rise in popularity, mostly due to the growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products.
“Last year, we enjoyed a diverse selection of vendors at our inaugural farmers market, with the number growing as the season progressed,” said Amanda Peacock, Valdosta Main Street director. “Customers can again expect to find farm fresh produce, baked goods, meats, eggs, honey, plants and other specialty items at this year’s events.”
This season, due to popular demand, Downtown Valdosta Farm Days has been extended two months and introduces several new farmers and welcomes back more than 20 returning vendors to its market. In addition to the local produce and specialty items, patrons of Downtown Valdosta Farm Days can also enjoy monthly cooking demonstrations by local chefs who use the fresh, local products on the first market of each month. The chef uses ingredients from our producers and demonstrates what can be accomplished in your kitchen using local products. Crowds gather to see what the chef has in store for them that day, and then go find the products right in the market.
Community members have found the market to be a great place to meet family and friends, and the market has created an environment where customers stay and enjoy in Downtown Valdosta. It seems like it’s a win-win situation for the downtown district.
“We are proud of what we have going here in Downtown Valdosta,” said Peacock. “We strive to be the best place to live, work and play in the region.”
For more information about Downtown Valdosta Farm Days contact 229-259-3577, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit us on the web at www.valdostamainstreet.com
or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DowntownValdostaFarmDays