Now that summer has transitioned into fall, the Sanford Farmers Market is transitioning its offerings to meet the season — in terms of not just products, but also events and educational opportunities.
“Fall is a very exciting time,” said Meredith Favre, local foods coordinator for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County. “We still have a lot of summer produce, but we’re all starting to see pumpkins, and we’ve also got mums. We’ve got great apples, cabbage, collards, kale, and sweet potatoes.”
Favre said the list of vendors at the market, held from 8:30 a.m. to noon each Saturday through mid-November at the Buggy Factory parking lot at 115 Chatham St., has been largely consistent, but has also welcomed new farmers throughout the year.
“It’s always changing,” she said. “It’s been fun to work with the ones we’ve had traditionally, but we also have new ones coming in from time to time.”
In addition to fall produce offerings, Favre said there are several events at the farmers market each weekend in October.
The market will team up with Downtown Sanford Inc. on Saturday, Oct. 8 for the annual Streetfest & Fireworks with a downtown scavenger hunt using its Visit NC Farms app. On Oct. 15, the market will partner with the Sanford Area Growth Alliance on the Chamber of Commerce’s Children’s Business Fair. On Oct. 22, there will be an Extension Master Gardeners program about mulch and fall garden preparation, and on Oct. 29 there will be an “All Things Pumpkin” event featuring pumpkin related activities ranging from carving and painting to using the orange gourd to create electrical circuits.
Outside of the market itself, the Extension will host a pressure canning class from 2 to 4 p.m. On Oct. 12 at its office on Tramway Road. The class costs $5 and those interested can register by calling the Extension office at (919) 775-5624.
“We want people to know the market is still going, and that there’s lots of great produce coming out and a lot of great events still coming up,” Favre said. “A lot of our farms really rely on the market or on agritourism, so we really want to get the word out.”
Favre said the market has averaged over 600 visitors per week in 2022 and has totaled more than 40 unique vendors.
“Everyone has had a really great year, and we’re all tickled with the attendance,” she said. “We’ve grown a lot, and we’re so thankful to be downtown.”