GRAND OPENING AND SEED SWAP MAY 8th

Friday, May 8 is the Grand Opening of the 2015 Independence Farmers Market, beginning the regular market season every Friday from 9am to 2pm until the second Friday in October.  The Market is held in the Independence Town Park at the corner of Highways 21 and 58 across from the Historic Court House in downtown Independence, Virginia.

It’s been a long cold winter, with local farmers working hard to have fresh greens, meats, baked goods, jams, crafts, potted plants of herbs and flowers and vegetables, and other agricultural products available for purchase.  2015 will be an exciting year at the Market, showcasing the diversity of agricultural products and talents in our area.

To celebrate spring at the May 8th opening, a special seed display, staffed by Cynthia Taylor of Grayson LandCare, will free milkweed seeds, Asclepias syriaca, for you to take home and plant.  Milkweed is the favored food of the Monarch butterfly, and LandCare is highlighting pollinator plants this year.

Additionally, that day, the Market will have seed displays, a demonstration on how to save your own tomato seeds, and free seeds of flowers and vegetables for kids to plant at the Market.  If you have free seeds to share, you are welcome to bring them along for others to use.

Special Fiber Days are usually the third Friday of the month, except for the very first Fiber Day, May 22.  Libby Kahn will offer a  mini-class on how to skirt raw wool.  Bring a fleece or two for skirting and cleaning. There will be wools and yarns and handmade items of lambs wool, mohair, and other natural fibers from local sheep, goats, rabbits, and alpacas.

Free cooking demonstrations with recipes are scheduled on the first Friday of each month, beginning  June 5.  These are co-sponsored by the Virginia Tech Family Nutrition Program.

And the youngsters are not forgotten!  Free Kids Activities are planned each Friday from 10 to 11 am, with a special Kids’ Day on June 26.  Among other festivities that day, Don Call will be back to demonstrate roping and give free lessons.

More special programs are held monthly, with the first event on June 12, Herb Day, led by Ellen Reynolds of Beagle Ridge Herb Farm.

July 17 is the Annual Berry Festival, with berries on sale, and a chance for you to enter your favorite berry pie in the contest.

August 7 is the Annual Tomato Day.  Taste the variety of tomatoes to see what to grow or buy at the Market, and even enter the salsa contest!

September 4 is Pepper Day, featuring a chance to taste multiple types of peppers available at the Market.

October 9 is the final day of the Market, and it is Apple Day, featuring not only apples from local orchards, but you can bring along your apples and press them!  And of course, you can bring an apple pie for the apple pie contest!

The Market accepts SNAP benefits and offers a $10 match thanks to a grant from Appalachian Sustainable Development and Wholesome Wave.  For more information, please contact Michelle Pridgen, Market Manager at independencefarmersmarket@gmail.com or 276-768-0597.  Follow us on Facebook.

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