By Terry Harris
The Surry Farmers Market season is in full swing following their opening events on May 5 and May 7, and great things are in the works to make this their best season ever.
For 2023, market days will include both the regular Friday 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. slots as well as new Sunday afternoon markets from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., all located under the pavilion adjacent to the Surry County Government Center at 45 School Street, Surry, VA 23883.
“The addition of a Sunday market will provide opportunities for area cottage businesses to grow as well and expand access for consumers to local produce, dairy products, meats, baked goods, and prepared foods – something the citizens of Surry need,” explained Pat Bernshausen, Surry County Tourism Coordinator.
According to a press release from Surry County, with their strategic priorities being on various aspects of Tourism promotion, farmer’s market operations will be managed by the Surry County Tourism Department as it expands and grows.
Zhane’ Slade, who was recently announced as the Market Manager, will work closely with Bernshausen to ensure that this market season is a successful one.
“We are so pleased to add Zhane’ to the Surry County Tourism team and are confident in her knowledge and ability to manage a successful, growing farmers market,” said Bernshausen.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Surry County and neighboring communities to build a vibrant, inclusive, community-based farmers market in the heart of Surry,” responded Slade.
In addition to offering the freshest local produce, baked goods, prepared foods, and local crafts, the Surry Farmers Market also participates in the Power of Produce (POP) Club, which is a farmers market-based program for children that teaches them about fruits and vegetables, local food systems, and healthy food preparation through fun activities. A POP Club activity took place on Sunday, May 14, and the next one is scheduled for Sunday, May 28.
“Children become immersed in the farmers market experience by tasting new foods, meeting local farmers and food producers, and buying produce for themselves and their families using vouchers that they earn for participation in activities,” Bernshausen explained,
One continued benefit to the community from the Farmer’s Market is that in addition to cash, some vendors also accept credit and debit card payments, and some vendors accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
Market organizers collaborate with Smart Beginnings Southeast to help local shoppers stretch their grocery budgets by participating with the “SNAP Match” program that doubles the amount SNAP users may spend at each market. Smart Beginnings also provides local children with vouchers which can be used to purchase covered items.
Explaining how it works, Bernshausen said, “For example, every time SNAP users scan their cards for a $10 purchase, they receive $20 in tokens which they are able to use to purchase produce at the market – effectively doubling their purchasing power for healthy, fresh food.”
“The Surry Farmers Market will welcome back vendors that we all know and love, as well as new vendors,” Bernshausen added. “We are also hoping to implement some exciting new features this season including incentives for Seniors, County staff and School System employees, drive-up shopping for our visitors who require special assistance, and will have a variety of live entertainers during the markets.”
Vendor applications are still being accepted and may be submitted online or downloaded from the Surry County Tourism website. Applications for vendors or musicians may also be requested by contacting Pat Bernshausen, Tourism Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 757-294-0644.
For additional information about Surry County’s tourism programs, initiatives, and promotions visit https://www.surrycountytourism.com/.
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