Is all produce at the Matthews Community Farmers' Market organically grown?
No. Our growers range from those who have gone through the USDA organic certification process and can legally call their farms and produce "organic", to those growers who offer "naturally grown"*produce and are not federally certified, to still other growers who use conventional growing methods that include the sparing use of pesticides and/or chemical fertilizers. The market leaves it to each grower to explain his or her growing practices to customers. Feel free to ask farmers how they grow their crops. It's one of the many advantages of buying produce at a growers-only farmers market where you buy directly from the local farmers who grew your food.
* The US Department of Agriculture enacted standards applying to the use of the word "organic" in produce and other products. This means many of our growers who have always grown organically can not legally call their produce or farms organic unless federally certified as such. Getting USDA certified as organic is a lengthy and expensive process that has been prohibitive for many of the small farmers and backyard growers who sell at our market.
Why can't I find all fruits and vegetables at the same time at the farmers' market?
We are a "grower-only" market where all crops are grown within 50 miles of Matthews. Crops are grown and harvested in their appropriate seasons.. For instance, spinach is a cool weather crop that our farmers harvest in the spring, fall and winter. You won't find it at the market in the heat of the summer. You will, however, find hot weather crops like corn and watermelon. Our commitment to locally grown produce ensures you are buying the freshest, best looking, best tasting, wholesome and nutritious produce directly from the farmer who grew it and who harvested it just a few hours before your purchase.
How do I get a booth at the market to be a vendor?
The market has specific rules governing who can sell and what can be sold, as well as an application process.
We have a strict application process that occurs once each year, as applications are only accepted between November 1 and the following January 15. The board will review the application and carry out an inspection before a final decision is made. No waiting list is maintained nor are applications kept on file. Click on the "New Vendor Applications" page to download a copy of the farmers' market rules, fee information and application form.
What do donations and fundraisers help pay for at the market?
We are, of course, always grateful for the continued support of those individuals and businesses that donate to the market. We carefully spend the funds we have to keep the market running well and growing wisely. We try to keep our fundraising efforts to a minimum, as we know our customers already give so much. Our aim each year is to move closer to self-reliance through vendor fees and Community House sales (beverages and market merchandise), so in turn we can become less reliant on our peach and apple fundraisers. Budgeting with these funds can be difficult, because they depend on crop yield, which are determined by unpredictable weather patterns and inherent growing challenges.
Do we allow third parties to solicit/sell/promote in the farmers' market?
No. Because we have been inundated with requests from third parties to promote their business or cause, we have had to implement a blanket policy that restricts promotions to only those pertaining to the market and its vendors. If you wish to become a vendor, please refer to the third paragraph above.