The Produce Lady Offers Tips, Recipes for National Farmers Market Week
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – National Farmers Market Week runs August 7 through August 13 this year, and The Produce Lady, a program of N.C. State University at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis, is encouraging North Carolinians to visit their local farmers markets and support the state’s leading industry. At roughly $74 billion annually, the agriculture industry accounts for 19 percent of North Carolina’s income and employs more than 20 percent of the state’s work force.
North Carolina boasts more than 200 farmers markets (10th most in the country), all offering fresh, seasonal produce items. This time of year, some of the most popular crops include peaches, sweet corn, tomatoes and watermelon, according to The Produce Lady, Brenda Sutton of N.C. Cooperative Extension in Rockingham County.
In addition to these traditionally popular crops, visitors to an N.C. farmers market in August may find butter beans, cabbage, cantaloupe, eggplant, green beans, peas, peppers, summer squash and more, depending on their location. Crops tend to go in and out of season earlier from east to west because of the state’s various climate conditions.
“With so many wonderful fruits and vegetables lining market stalls during the summer, it can be a challenge for visitors to know which ones to pick or how to store and prepare them at home,” said Sutton. “The Produce Lady program brings together consumers and farmers by sharing tips on how to select, store, prepare and preserve fresh produce.”
Sometimes having the right recipe – one that is quick, simple and tasty – can make or break a person’s decision to buy certain produce, explained Sutton. The Produce Lady makes appearances at markets across the state during the summer, giving cooking demonstrations using local foods and sharing samples and recipes to encourage visitors to purchase farmers’ goods.
A perennial favorite recipe is “skillet corn medley,” made with fresh summer crops like corn, onions, peppers, tomatoes and zucchini. “Any dish prepared with that many fresh, North Carolina-grown vegetables is going to be delicious,” said Sutton. View the Skillet Corn Medley recipe.
The Produce Lady offers some general guidelines to follow when visiting a farmers market that will make for a more productive and enjoyable trip. The program’s e-newsletter shares tips and advice about an in-season fruit or vegetable each month; August features tomatoes. Find more information about both farmers market etiquette and the e-newsletter:
The Produce Lady appears on the “Almanac Gardener” show during the summer. Episodes air on UNC-TV on Saturday at noon and again on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and Monday at 2:30 p.m. The show will feature The Produce Lady video for sprite melons on August 13, apples on August 27, and pumpkins on September 3.
The N.C. State University Plants for Human Health Institute at the N.C. Research Campus, and its N.C. Cooperative Extension outreach, coordinates The Produce Lady program, which includes a video series, monthly e-newsletter, farmers market appearances and website.
Media Contact: Leah Chester-Davis, director of communications, Plants for Human Health Institute, 704-250-5406 or email@example.com