Sanford Farmers Market Opening Kicks Off Lee County “Ag Week” 2022

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We are fortunate to live in a part of the state that offers a diversity of agricultural products all year round. Here in Lee County, spring has officially sprung, and we are especially lucky to have a number of on-farm stands, “U-Pick” berry operations and a vibrant Sanford Farmers Market located downtown behind the historic Buggy Building. Today marks the opening of the Sanford Farmers Market’s 2022 season, with hours from 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. each Saturday from now through mid-November.

During early through mid-spring, some of the products grown locally you can expect to find at the market include cool season favorites for a fresh salad like lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli and carrots. Collard green lovers are in luck, as its soon peak season to seek out this robustly flavorful southern favorite. It’s also a great time of year for locally grown new potatoes, onions and asparagus, along with a variety of seasonal herbs to enhance nearly any dish. No Sandhills spring produce list would be complete without highlighting the strawberry, a versatile and delicious fruit eaten right out of the bucket or on your favorite dessert. And I haven’t even mentioned the eggs, meat, and various baked goods that you can expect to find at the market on any given Saturday.

If you are looking for some recipes to try out with these amazing produce options, our Family and Consumer Science Agent, Ashley Szilvay, will be kicking off a new program this year called “Market Menu.” Ashley will be demonstrating a number of healthy and convenient recipes on site at the farmers market beginning today (and continuing throughout the season) that will assist you in creating your own locally inspired meals using fresh market products.

This year’s market opening also kicks off Lee County’s first annual “Ag Week”, an event celebrating the critical role agriculture plays in our daily lives and the vitality of our community. The week of April 23-30 will be filled with family friendly educational events including: blueberry production and care, embryology and backyard flocks, strawberry picking and jam making, planting for successful and vibrant landscapes, beekeeping and pollinator plant selection, and much more! For a comprehensive listing of 2022 Ag Week events or to learn more about the Sanford Farmers Market, be sure and visit our N.C. Cooperative Extension – Lee County Center website or call 919-775-5624.

Bill Stone is the County Extension Director for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County.