Folks who cook or just love fresh vegetables and fruit including me tend to get very excited about this time of year.
I typically shop markets on my route, depending on where I am going.
There is one market, however, I visit every weekend no matter what. Its the Providence Produce Market at the corner of Ballantyne Commons Parkway and Providence Road in south Charlotte, adjacent to the Shell station.
Providence Produce considers itself a hybrid market. It offers a good mix of produce from local farms as well as more exotic items including pineapples and limes.
Products are labeled to indicate where they are from, which is helpful. Honey from Gregs Honey Hive down the road in Waxhaw is always popular here, as are infused honeys from Cloister Honey.
The key to the shopping experience at Providence Produce is the staff: they are friendly and always willing to answer questions or offer cooking ideas.
The owner of Providence Produce Market is Charlotte native David White, who started his company with a simple roadside stand about 10 years ago. The business has grown since to include four retail outlets and a wholesale division.
The farm stands are at Providence Road and Ballantyne Commons Parkway; the Mint Hill Market; the Rockstore Market in Matthews; and the Providence South location in Waxhaw.
The wholesale and main offices are in Indian Trail and recently were renovated to include a demonstration kitchen for staff training. White was named one of the Top 40 produce professionals younger than 40 in the U.S. for his work in the industry in 2013.
The team at Providence Produce has long been committed to its community, annually donating thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables and fruit to those in need. White and his staff work with organizations including Matthews Help Center to ensure they have plenty of fresh produce, by assigning a stand and pickup date to each group.
Groups can send in donation-request forms found on the farm stands website. White sees to it the company donates generously to camps, events and various fundraisers.
There is no financial incentive whatsoever for us to have our donation program in place; it is merely to help the community, White said.
Jenny Brantley is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jenny? Email her at email@example.com or Twitter @brntlyjnny.
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