Spring is a time of celebration for many farmers that rely on markets to sell fresh fruits and vegetables. Saturday mornings are usually when farmers sell their goods to roaming crowds but in Charlottesville this week marks the season opener for the mid-week markets.
Planet Earth Diversified in Stanardsville sells fruits and vegetables throughout Virginia. Most of their herbs, lettuces and tomatoes are sold in grocery stores and restaurants. They also sell their produce at farmers' markets in Charlottesville as a way to market their products.
"It's a good way to really make contact with the customers and then we'll have chefs that come. Last Saturday, we had a chef that came three times," Michael Clark, Owner of Planet Earth Diversified, said.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said the number of farmers' markets in the state has grown from 88 just seven years ago to more than 200 this year. Stephanie Maloy is the Market Manager of the City Market on Saturdays in Charlottesville and said it has expanded and now includes a market on Tuesdays at Pen Park and Wednesdays at Meade Park.
"Each day I have more vendors who want to be vendors at the market and I don't have space for them," Maloy said.
Between four and five thousand people visit the City Market each Saturday all looking for locally grown goods.
"I believe it has a lot to do with just education. People realizing, wow, fresh food tastes better. It's better for me," Maloy said.
The Charlottesville City Market on Saturday is open from 7 a.m. to noon. The Tuesday market at Pen Park and the Wednesday market at Meade Park is from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Jennifer Von Reuter joined the NBC29 news team in June 2009 as a general assignment reporter. Prior to joining NBC29, Jennifer worked as an anchor and reporter for WHAG-TV in Hagerstown, MD. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story