The Catawba Valley General Store is hosting a farmers market every Thursday between 3:30 and 7 p.m. in conjunction with Virginia Tech’s Catawba Sustainability Center, at least through this October and most likely beyond.
It began May 27, and the first two go-rounds yielded ten producers/growers and a mix of locals and Appalachian trail hikers as customers. The Thursday market also coincides with the Homestead restaurant’s first day of operation during the week, and the center hopes to make the market a destination for diners.
“It’s a really great way for the new producers to see what [it looks] like to do direct sales. And for existing growers, they can expand to a more local community market that they may not be reaching through other farmers markets,” said Christy Gabbard, director of the Catawba Sustainability Center.
Just after the market’s opening, through-hikers called Gabbard to request a sign post 20 miles south to let them plan their supply stops around the Thursday market. They posted signs in the Woods Hole hostel. Items the hikers are interested in are smoked trout and fresh fruit – things they can pack for a few days.
As far as Appalachian trail hikers and TransAmerica trail bicyclists go, the general store offers $3 a night stays for hikers on the Appalachian trail, whether they tent or stay in a cabin behind the store.
“Im thrilled to offer them the space to do it. It’s a good opportunity for our business and it’s a good opportunity for the valley,” said Catawba Valley General Store owner Carol Brewer. She said in the last two weeks, inquiries about signing up to sell goods and produce at the market have skyrocketed, and they envision the market growing over the summer as gardens overproduce.
The Catawba Sustainability Center’s goal is to create and model sustainability practices across disciplines – and aims to be an example for landowners in sustainable farming and environmental stewardship. In addition to offering land for lease to new growers, they are looking to fill other gaps in the local food infrastructure. Later this summer, Gabbard is organizing a meeting between area chefs who want to cook with local food and with the growers who can possibly supply.
To read more about the sustainability center, click here.
Click here to read another article we wrote about the new farmers market.