Organizers of the Evans Towne Farmers Market are putting out a call to local growers and vendors in anticipation of their second season beginning in March.
The market will open on Thursday, March 20, and will run until late October, according to Kim Hines, a co-manager of the market managed by Augusta Locally Grown.
“This is a direct farmer-to-consumer market,” Hines said. “It provides an opportunity for folks to get to know the people who grow their food, to ask important questions about the way it is grown and to build relationships that restore integrity to the food system.”
The Evans market is held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Thursdays, along the perimeter of the outdoor amphitheater and walking trail at the Columbia County Library.
“Thursdays are the best time for our participating farmers because they’re already committed to other farmers markets on Saturdays,” said Hines.
In addition to locally grown foods, the market includes local artisans who sell an array of handcrafted items. Last year’s market included handcrafted furniture, frozen fruit pops and homemade soap.
“We keep a careful balance of farmers to artisans,” Hines said. “It can be difficult to find local farmers who qualify with our guidelines, but we are committed to keeping locally grown food our priority.”
The market includes music, prepared picnic food and weekly cooking demonstrations that feature seasonal ingredients.
“We are thrilled that so many great chefs and home cooks in this area are willing to volunteer their time at the market,” Hines said. “When they share their culinary secrets and samples, it’s always such a treat.”
This year’s market will include an expanded Kids Market Passport Program. This weekly, hands-on education project is run by Augusta Locally Grown student interns.
“School-age children are our target audience at the Evans Towne Farmers Market,” Hines said. “We know that parents are more likely to buy a bag of summer squash or arugula if their kids just had a bunch of fun making something with it.”
Market organizers are looking for vendors, volunteers, musicians, cooking educators and gardening experts. Find vendor information online at www.evanstownefarmersmarket.com. Discounts are available for farmers and artisans who commit early.
“A farmers market is a big commitment,” Hines said. “Rain, heat and wind are all challenges, of course, but keeping the numbers up is our biggest hurdle. In order to make this really work, the farmers, artisans and community as a whole has to embrace it.
“This will be our goal this year. “We want to figure out how to make the market a favorite, regular pastime for Columbia County.”