Anticipation is growing as area farmers markets gather their wits and fresh produce for the upcoming season.
The Roanoke Farmers Market opens on Saturday, with the Grapevine and Keller markets following suit on April 20 and May 6, respectively.
Lovers of everything from apples and yellow squash to canned goods, shoppers can expect the unexpected at these Northeast markets with finds such as barbecued chicken, fresh confections, pet foods, spicy habanero peanut butter and even mosquito repellent.
Farmers markets continue to be a healthful and fun choice for people wanting the flavor and tradition, but that also offer fresh local and organic produce as a healthy eating resource.
Offering these healthy choices makes these popular and appealing markets, suggests findings from the most recent Farmers Market Manager Survey from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
The survey of about 1,400 farmers market managers nationwide, notes that these markets continues to grow and serve as popular community gathering places, according to USDA spokesman Ken Melton. There are thousands of markets listed in the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory.
“Currently, there are 8,667 farmers markets listed on the directory and 1,420 on-farm market listed,” Melton said.
New finds and fresh favorites
Fresh bread will be an new addition to the Roanoke market this year, said Kraig Copp, Roanoke farmers market manager.
“People love fresh bread and we want to draw people in, “ he said.
With the start of the season, shoppers can expect to find fresh kale, broccoli, beets and onions.
The market continues from 8 a.m. - noon on Saturdays through September at Austin Street Plaza, 221 N. Oak St.
April 20 will be the opening day for the farmers market in Grapevine, where some favorites to find are salsa, tamales, beef jerky, ice pops, olive oils, vinegars and raw unfiltered honey. Tamales, empanadas as well as handmade gluten-free and vegan offerings will be for sale.
The Grapevine market hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays through Saturday at 325 S. Main St.
In Keller, more than 40 vendors are already lined up for the market this year, said Sheri Almond, Keller Farmers Market executive director. The Keller market will open May 6 in front of Keller Town Hall, 1100 Bear Creek Pkwy.
The casual, open air market will once again offer fresh Texas produce along with items such a meats, tamales, baked goods, artisan bread, cheese, salsa and pasta. Pickles, jellies and jams, honey, baked goods, prepared foods, pet products and crafts will also be market offerings, all from Texas.
From time to time the market will also feature chef demonstrations as well as health or wellness presentations.
The Keller market will operate from 8 a.m.- noon on Saturdays and continues through Oct. 27.