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To Market, To Market 

A plethora of produce

For those who have moved here recently, we don't have farm stands or produce stands. We have markets. Local markets are located from Waxhaw to Huntersville and many of these markets, such as the markets in Huntersville, Gastonia and Matthews, have restrictions on their vendors and require participating farmers to be located within a certain radius of the market.

The largest area market is the Charlotte Regional Farmers' Market, which charges their North Carolina vendors less than out of state vendors. Although many of these vendors grow their own produce, some of them buy produce to resell, which is why you can often see produce that's out of season locally for sale. This market is one of five owned by North Carolina and operated by the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. On May 20, the market is celebrating Strawberry Day from 10am until 1pm; locally grown strawberries and strawberry ice cream will be available.

The Charlotte Regional Farmers' Market, 1801 Yorkmont Road. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 8am until 6pm; Sundays 12:30pm until 6pm.

The Matthews Community Farmers' Market was established in 1992 to "encourage farming in the Matthews area and to strengthen Matthews' sense of community." The market maintains a mix of 70 percent growers and 30 percent bakers. Of the growers, Market Manager Pauline Wood said the mix is about half organic and half non-organic. The market is operated by the Matthews Community Farmers' Market Inc., a non-profit corporation. This market is holding a Focaccia Contest to be judged by renowned author Chef Peter Reinhart of Johnson & Wales University. Marketgoers are invited to enter "their most creative" focaccia bread on May 21 before 10am. Entrants can make the bread in any style, using any ingredients, and will be judged on appearance, taste, texture and authenticity. No professional bakers, please. The winner will receive an autographed copy of Reinhart's Brother Juniper's Bread Book. This market also offers flowers, locally produced honey, eggs, and cooking demonstrations. Get there early; many items sell out soon after opening.

The Matthews Community Farmers' Market, North Trade Street (next to Renfrow Hardware), Matthews. Hours: 7:30am until noon every Saturday from May through October.

Center City is hosting the eighth season of the Green Market on 7th Street. This market has a variety of vendors such as Creekside Farms, Unity Farms and Greeneman Farms; fresh fish (including from the Carolina coast) from Michael LaVecchia's; flowers from Jefferson Herr; and handmade crafts such as jewelry, stained glass and pottery from local artisans. The Green Market will kick off on May 14 with "Flower Power Saturday," featuring a visit from Maureen Riley of WBT-AM's Carolina Gardener and artists from the Community School of the Arts to help customers paint flower pots. There is no charge for this activity. June 4 is the Firefighter's Pancake Breakfast (they're cooking) to raise money for the Charlotte Chapter of the Burned Children's Fund.

The Center City Green Market, 7th Street between College and Brevard streets, across from the Levine Museum of the New South. Unlimited free parking is available in the 7th Street Station parking deck. Hours: 8am until 1pm on Saturdays through September 17.

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