A highlight for many consumers in Virginia’s Roanoke Valley is shopping at a community farmers’ market like that found in downtown Salem. Fresh local products – fruits, vegetables, honey, eggs and dairy products, and meat – support the nationwide trend of eating locally.
Locavores – Eating Locally
Locavores, according an editor Jennifer Maiser of the Eat Local Challenge website, are people who pay attention to where their food comes from and commit to eating local food as much as possible. “Determine what local means for you,” writes Maiser. “This is an individual decision,” continues Maiser, “that should feel comfortable for you and your family. Many locavores start by trying to eat within a 100-mile radius from their homes and then adjust.”
The first of Maiser’s ten steps to becoming a locavore is to visit and buy at a farmers’ market. Farmers’ markets keep small farms in business through direct sales, she says. The farmer takes home nearly all of the money handed to him for his merchandise rather than having a portion of the cost going to a middleman. Any small step helps the environment, protects your family’s health, and supports area small farmers.
The Salem Farmers’ Market
The City of Salem constructed the Salem Market in 1992. It is located in the heart of Salem’s downtown district on the corner of Main Street and Broad Street. Local farmers are able to provide the area’s finest fresh food stuffs for their customers because the city is located along the Roanoke River’s rich bottomland soils and many farmers come from fertile surrounding areas,
The market and its vendors are a valuable asset to the downtown economy. Special events are held throughout the season to promote the market, its vendors, and the downtown in general. The vendors pride themselves on bringing the best of the country to this small city!
Peak months for many Salem customers may be produce in June, July and August, but the autumn days of September and October find stalls packed with apples, pumpkins and all kinds of squash. The best days for selection, but the most crowded, are usually Fridays and Saturdays. Saturdays resemble a friendly neighborhood get–together with happy dogs, children sampling goods, and gossiping adults.
If You Go to the Salem Farmers’ Market
This 18-year-old market is located in Salem’s downtown district on the corner of Main Street and Broad Street. It is open April 1 through December 31 (closed Christmas Day), Monday through Saturday from 7:30 am until 2 pm. There is plenty of free and convenient on–site parking, including plenty of handicapped spaces.
More about Farmers’ Markets in Virginia:
- Virginia Farmers Markets listings
- Guide to Virginias farmers markets, farms, and pick your own produce operations
- Current issue of the Virginia Retail Farmers’ Market Report (PDF)
- Agricultural resources for teachers from the Virginia Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services
- The official USDA web site on farmers’ marketing