As the weather gets warmer and crops begin to ripen, it can only mean one thing. The Growers Market is back.
Next weekend, many will flock to Centennial Park in Fuquay-Varina to take part in one of the community’s jewels. A great way for families to support local farmers while eating healthy, the Growers Market will be able to take electronic benefits transfer payments for the first time.
The $15,000 grant that made accepting EBT payments possible is a big deal for the local community. Not only does it pay for a marketing position for the market, but the grant promotes demonstrations with the locally grown food.
Marketing Manager for the Growers Market and professional chef for 32 years Joseph Fasy said he is working with the Advocates for Health in Action Group from WakeMed, one of the market’s sponsors to fight obesity and give everyone the chance to eat healthily.
“It’s going to bring in an aspect for society that wouldn’t have been able to afford healthy food before,” Fasy said.
Cards can be swiped at the market information tent and shoppers receive wooden tokens to purchase food from vendors. Tokens do not expire.
Also, those using financial assistance with EBT cards can take part in the Market Match program. The market will match an EBT cardholder’s token purchases up to $5 each week while funding is available.
Fourteen vendors will line the Centennial Square in hopes of selling some of the freshest produce in the area.
Fasy said a farmers market began years ago with one farmer, RB Mason, who set up a stand in a parking lot. It has been on and off since that first season, but the current Growers Market is running strong as it kicks off its fourth year.
“We’ve come a long way in a short amount of time and it’s because we have great people,” Fasy said.
But the Growers Market has become more than a place to buy local produce. There will be cooking classes led by Fasy once a month from May through October, with three classes each of those days. The free classes kick off with barbecue day in May, “Grillin’ and Chillin’ with Your Children” is great for the whole family.
Classes also include “Meet the Bee Keeper” before the market closes for the season at the end of October.
Fasy moved to the area five years ago and began working with the Growers Market while he took time off to heal from a hip problem.
“I’m not the type to sit around and do nothing,” Fasy said.
During opening day on May 4, the Growers Market will play host to a customer appreciation barbecue at 11:30 a.m. Chuck Champion will perform during the day as well.
The Appreciation Day just one more way Fasy hopes to promote the market and recruit new vendors in the future.
“I’m still amazed at how many people don’t know we’re over there,” he said.
The Growers Market will be open weekly from May 4 through Oct. 26 on Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Contact Kelly Griffith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-552-5675.