Moore County Farmers Market May Be Voted One of America's Favorites
By Claudia Watson
Special to The Pilot
Renata Pike, of Pinehurst, can't get enough of the farm fresh vegetables and fruit at the Moore County Farmers Market.
"This is so fresh, fresh, fresh, I can't get enough," she says while struggling with two heavy bags laden with produce.
"I go to the supermarket and the produce looks picture perfect, but I know better," she says while purchasing some fresh peaches from market vendor Kalawi Farms. "When I come here, I can talk to the farmer and learn how things are grown. It's straight from the field and tastes so much better."
Pike, who says she enjoys the interaction with the farmers, will be one of the first to vote for the Moore County Farmers Market, a contestant in the 2011 America's Favorite Farmers Markets contest hosted each year by American Farmland Trust (AFT).
The online contest is a nationwide challenge to see which of America's farmers markets can rally the most support from their communities.
At the end of the contest on Aug. 31, one large, medium, small and boutique-sized farmers market will win the title of "America's Favorite Farmers Market" for 2011.
Winners will be featured on Epicurious.com, an award-winning foodsite, and will be honored at local celebrations where they will receive prize packages from American Farmland Trust and its partners.
Angela Blake, of Aberdeen, a newcomer to the farmers market, says she is searching for the best produce quality she can find.
"What a great experience," she says while sampling Big Rainbow heirloom tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum 'Big Rainbow' ) and sweet Genovese basil (Ocimum basilicum) from Fox Squirrel Farm. "I am just learning to cook and really wanted to use the freshest available products in a tomato caprese appetizer - and this flavor is incredible."
Farmers markets are a vital link between local farms and their supporting communities, providing fresh and healthy food and an experience. By partnering with farmers market managers, AFT is encouraging consumers to consider the importance of farmland and to support local farmers by casting their vote in support of their region's farmers, community and market.
To vote for the Moore County Farmers Market, simply go to www.farmland.org/vote. Type in Moore County Farmers Market in the search box and enter the information in order to vote. You can vote for each market separately (Pinehurst at FirstHealth, and Southern Pines at the Morganton Road Armory Complex, or Downtown Southern Pines). There can be one vote per person for each market listed.
The Moore County Farmers Market draws at least 3,000 consumers each week to three sites in Moore County:
FirstHealth (Fitness Center), 170 Memorial Drive, Pinehurst, from 2 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday.
Morganton Road (Armory Complex), Southern Pines, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursdays.
Downtown Southern Pines, SE Broad St. and New York Ave., Southern Pines, 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.
The America's Favorite Farmers Contest is a part of American Farmland Trust's No Farms No Food campaign, which raises awareness of the dangers of farmland loss by making connections to food.
Farms near metropolitan areas produce 91 percent of the nation's market value of fruit, 78 percent of vegetables, and 67 percent of dairy products.
Claudia Watson is a -freelance writer and may be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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