The Indian Trail community will get a taste of locally grown foods at a farmers market preview Oct. 18, before town planners kick off a full-fledged Indian Trail Farmers Market in the spring.
The new market would be one of a growing number of farmers markets nationwide as more consumers want to eat food grown close to home – and get to know the people who grow it.
The nearest farmers markets to Indian Trail are in Monroe and Matthews.
Indian Trail Senior Planner Katie Reeves, who is organizing the Indian Trail Farmers Market, said she's gotten positive responses from area farmers and consumers.
“There's such a push for local food right now,” Reeves said. “We're hearing from more and more people that this would be a good idea.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of farmers markets in the U.S. rose 6.8 percent between August 2006 and August 2008, when 4,685 farmers markets were reported.
Indian Trail will preview its farmers market with the first Indian Trail Harvest Festival, 8 a.m.-noon on Oct. 18 at the town hall. It will be part of the annual Family Fun Day celebration. The market will feature fall produce, baked goods, jams, preserves, flowers, shrubs and crafts.
Reeves said the Indian Trail Farmers Market likely will be a growers-only market. That means all vendors must sell food and crafts they grew or made themselves. Some farmers markets allow vendors to resell food and items bought from others.
The 17-year-old Matthews Community Farmers' Market is growers only. Market manager Pauline Wood said the Saturday market gets more popular every year. Its first biweekly winter market this year drew 200 people every time it opened.
“There is a growing awareness among people that it may be an important thing to know where your food comes from,” Woods said. “That's why you're seeing a boom in farmers markets all over the country.”
She said customers and local chefs have developed relationships with local farmers and craftsmen, who must work within 50 miles of Matthews to sell at the market. Some farmers are even adapting their growing methods to have more produce for the new winter market.
“It's been a really wonderful thing to see come along and grow,” Woods said. “We have something pretty special and unique.”
Greg Edwards, who owns Edwards Farms outside Monroe with his brother Todd Edwards, already is planning to sell produce, flowers, shrubs and herbs at the Indian Trail Farmers Market.
Like some vendors at the Matthews market, Edwards will grow a variety of produce and may have crops year-round to accommodate the growing demand for local food.
Edwards said the Indian Trail Farmers Market also will provide an educational and fun activity, especially for families.
“It would be great for the people who live in Indian Trail,” he said. “It's one more thing that families can do together when kids are young.”