It’s Farmers Market Season ~ a favorite time of the year when everyone should be visiting local markets to engage with the hardworking folks who produce wonderful farm products across the New River Valley. Many farmers markets not only offer farm fresh produce, meat, poultry, cheese, fresh flowers, herbs, baked goods, value added products, and often Virginia-made wine and spirits, but also host community and family style events for all ages. The market is a true gathering place where the community can join together to shop, learn and preserve heritage. A farmers market often mixes two things which can both be described as LOCAL PICKINS’, one of farm fresh products and the other of Appalachian bluegrass music.
The New River Valley has several established farmers markets that have been operating for decades and lead the way in fresh, direct market sales and the local food movement. As more folks get interested in local food and direct farmer sales, more markets are springing up. There are even some “pop-up” markets in smaller communities that only operate for a small amount of time during the growing season or a local farm stand that offers on-the-farm sales and pick-your-own produce. The NRV is hosting two new markets this year in Pearisburg and Christiansburg, operating from May to October.
Many of the markets accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) benefits by accepting EBT cards. A number of local farmers markets have joined forces with community organizations to support and implement a “matching” program. For example, if someone using an EBT card is allowed $10 in SNAP benefits, the market along with community partners will match the allowable amount of $10 to double it to $20. What a great opportunity for everyone to shop at farmers markets and have access to fresh, nutritious farm-raised products. The Virginia Cooperative Extension Family Nutrition Program offers cooking demonstrations at some farmers markets teaching folks how to prepare seasonal produce.
To learn more about the farmers markets in the New River Valley and across Southwest Virginia, visit the Southwestern Virginia Local Foods Guide, a newly developed website by a local community service organization, Southwest Virginia Fresh (SO Fresh) and the New River Valley Planning District Commission: www.nrvpdc.org/Agritourism/SWVA_Local_Foods
Story and photos by Kelli Scott
Across the New River Valley
BLACKSBURG COMMUNITY MARKET
S. Main St., Blacksburg
OPEN: May – Oct Tuesdays (9 a.m.-1 p.m.) and Saturdays (8 a.m.-2 p.m.)
TOWN OF BLACKSBURG FARMERS MARKET
Downtown Blacksburg, Draper Road
OPEN: Year-round Wednesdays (2-7 p.m.) and Saturdays (8 a.m.-2 p.m.)
TOWN OF CHRISTIANSBURG
Downtown Christiansburg, Hickok St.
OPEN: May – Oct. Thursdays (3-7 p.m.)
FLOYD FARMERS MARKET
Downtown Floyd, Floyd HWY (RT. 8)
OPEN: May – Oct. Saturdays (9 a.m.-1 p.m.)
TOWN OF NARROWS FARMERS MARKET
Downtown Narrows, Monroe St.
OPEN: April – Oct. Thursdays (8 a.m.-1 p.m.)
TOWN OF PEARISBURG FARMERS MARKET
Downtown Pearisburg, Wenonah Ave.
OPEN: May – Oct. Thursdays (3-7 p.m.) and Saturdays (8 a.m.-1 p.m.)
Historic Pulaski Train Station
OPEN: Tuesdays (4 p.m.-8 p.m.)
RADFORD FARMERS MARKET
Downtown Radford, Main St.
OPEN: May – Oct. Saturdays (8 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
SHAWSVILLE FARMERS MARKET
Alleghany Spring Rd
OPEN: First and Third Thursdays (4-7 p.m.)
To be added to the list of Farmers Markets in the New River Valley or learn more about accepting SNAP benefits or the Virginia Family Nutrition Program, please contact:
Kelli Scott at Virginia Cooperative Extension, Montgomery County — Agriculture & Natural Resources, 755 Roanoke Street, Suite 1G, Christiansburg, VA 24073, (540) 382-5790,