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Market To Market

Farmers' markets offer locally grown, fresh produce and flowers

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For those who have moved here recently, Charlotte doesn't have farm stands or produce stands. We have markets. Local markets are located from Waxhax to Huntersville, and many of these markets, such as those in Huntersville, Gastonia and Matthews have restrictions on their vendors and require participating farmers to be located within a certain radius of the market.

The largest area market is the Charlotte Regional Farmers' Market, which charges their North Carolina vendors less than out-of-state vendors. Although many of these vendors grow their own produce, some of them buy produce to resell, which is why you can often see out-of-local-season produce for sale. This market is one of five owned by North Carolina and operated by the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. If buying those tasteless strawberries from California at the grocery store bugs you, try locally grown strawberries on Strawberry Day, May 26 from 10am until 1pm.

The Charlotte Regional Farmers Market, 1801 Yorkmont Road. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday: 8am until 6pm; Sundays 12:30pm until 6pm.

Build it and they will come. New to this list is the small Mint Hill Farmers' Market, sponsored by the Mint Hill Historical Society in its second year of operation. Among the offerings at this market are locally grown vegetables -- including heirloom tomatoes, fruits, baked goods, jams, jellies, salsas and fresh-cut flowers. This market features weekly demonstrations by craftsmen: potters, wood carvers, artists. Check the Web site for the schedule: www.minthillhistory.com/market.htm.

Mint Hill Farmers' Market, 4311 Hillside Drive (at the Mint Hill Historical Society, in the Carl J. McEwen Historic Village). Hours are 8am until noon every Saturday, May through September.

The Matthews Community Farmers' Market was established in 1992 to "encourage farming in the Matthews area and to strengthen Matthews sense of community." The market maintains a mix of 70 percent growers and 30 percent bakers. Of the growers, market manager Pauline Wood said the mix is about half organic and half nonorganic. The market is operated by the Matthews Community Farmers' Market Inc., a nonprofit corporation. This market also offers flowers, locally produced honey, eggs and cooking demonstrations. Get there early. Many items sell out soon after opening.

The Matthews Community Farmers' Market, North Trade Street (next to Renfrow Hardware), Matthews. Hours are 7:30am until noon every Saturday from late April through October. www.matthewsfarmersmarket.com.

The King Street Market, located at the corner of Kings and Morehead, is open Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and has a faithful following. This is one of the best places to get heirloom Southern apples in the fall and the only place I know of in the city to get freshly slaughtered lamb (Fridays only).

King Street Market, King Street and Morehead. Open Tuesdays and Fridays 6am until 6pm, Saturdays 7am until 3pm.

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