By Bruce Frankel
With the Kernersville area’s rich history in farming dating back over 200 years, thanks to the region’s abundant water supply, natural resources and fertile soil, it is only natural that we would still celebrate the labors of our hard-working local farmers. Welcome to the Kernersville Farmers Market!
Centrally located at 136 E Mountain Street in the Town Hall Parking Lot, the Farmers Market is currently open through October on Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 8 am until 12 noon. Here, you will find an eclectic group of passionate and caring local entrepreneurs who proudly display their fresh produce and handmade goods that would impress anyone who visits.
This wonderful venue is still being discovered by many town residents, although the shelter was built 11 years ago with the efforts of the Kernersville Rotary Club and the Town of Kernersville. Prior to that, local farmers would set up their tables in vacant town lots such as on North Cherry Street. Led by Arnold King and Kevin Bugg, the Rotary Club saw the need and stepped up to provide the funds to build a permanent location for our local growers. The Town of Kernersville donated the property for the shelter as well as the adjacent park and continues to maintain the facilities today.
As Alderman Chris Thompson, who also served as the general contractor for building the shelter states, “This is all about bringing the community together. The Farmers Market provides this opportunity for residents to shop local, discover the quality of fresh produce, and have a multi-use area for hosting different events and gatherings for the community.”
All products sold at the Market must be grown or agriculturally related and made of farm products by the person or family selling the products. The Rotary Club committee that oversees the market, reviews all vendor requests to make sure there are not too many of the same items and there is a variety for shoppers to choose from while limiting the number of total vendors for a more enjoyable and less crowded experience.
Some vendors have been there from the beginning like Jimmy Morgan, owner of Rocky Branch Century Farms. A 5th generation owner who proudly displays his NC Century Farm certification which is awarded for those who have at least 100 years of continuous agricultural heritage. Rocky Branch Century Farm has garden produce, native persimmon products, and canned goods. Like all the vendors, Jimmy is friendly and willing to share tips and information such as letting you know what veggies can grow best in the difficult NC red clay. As Denise from Ringfield Farms will tell you, ‘”I love the atmosphere here. You get to meet both regular customers and new people stopping by every week,” as she stands over the most beautiful heirloom tomatoes you have ever seen!
Want fresh corn? Linville Farms has it on full display and provides suggestions on the various ways you can prepare it. Chantal Mullen is the farm manager at Seed 2 Seed who displays unique items such as homemade hibiscus – ginger jam as well as offering insight into the natural and diversified vegetables they sell.
Michael Brady of Lakeview Farms will proudly tell you how he converted his building that once raised hogs into his woodshop where he now pursues his passion and creates wood products made from the various wood grown in our surrounding area. “This is home,” he proclaims as he talks about the importance of the Kernersville Farmers Market.
Throughout the season, you will find that fresh produce displayed will vary based on what is ready to be harvested. Just as Carol Ann’s Nursery proudly states, “we don’t use any pesticides or chemicals,” this is a common trait for most of the market vendors. This is only a sampling of the dedicated and hardworking folks who set up when the Farmers Market is open to the public. (And for meat lovers, you need to check out the locally sourced meats offered from Yokeley/Majestic Farms and Cousin Eddie’s BBQ sauce.)
Working with the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club Committee takes an active role in helping to generate activities of interest to enhance the market experience for those who attend. Past events this summer included a yoga class in the grass, a dog adoption, kids cooking class, and music in the park. In addition, the Kernersville Parks and Recreation Department takes advantage of the shelter and adjacent park when the market is not open to offer various programs of interest to the community.
Joshua Pratt, owner of Savage Roasters who is one of the frequent vendors as well as serves on the Rotary Club’s Farmers Market Committee, appreciates the bond formed between the vendors. ‘We pack up and unload together and help each other where we can.”
And as Chris Comer, President/CEO of the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce, reminds everyone, “Our farmers make a stronger community for Kernersville.”
To learn more about the schedule, events, and vendor opportunities for the Kernersville Farmers Market, visit their website at www.KernersvilleFarmersMarket.com or email KernersvilleFarmersMarketNC@gmail.com.