New farmers market points to future of local produce

Peaches at the new farmers market in Carolina Forest. | Source: WMBF News
Peaches at the new farmers market in Carolina Forest. | Source: WMBF News

CAROLINA FOREST (WMBF) – There is a new farmers market in Carolina Forest as of Thursday. The new market will be open every Thursday just outside the Carolina Forest Recreation Center and Library.

The new farmers market is just one more opportunity for folks like Tasha Beers to sell locally grown produce.

"I think it's an ideal spot because it's in the middle of the two major highways, the traffic areas and the community," said Beers.

Like most vendors at the market, Beers is a broker who buys food from farmers then turns around and sells the food at market. With more markets now open in Horry County Beers said farmers can now get rid of their produce much easier.

"It helps them out in terms that they don't have as much loss as far as when all the crops come in and when it is booming we can get rid of a lot of the stuff for them," added Beers.

The Clemson Extension helps manage the Waccamaw Market Cooperative's farmers markets. They are located in North Myrtle, Surfside Beach, Conway, and now Carolina Forest.

Blake Lanford works with the Clemson Extension. He said there is a conscious push to buy locally in Horry County.

That is why Lanford said the next step is to create a central hub for local food distribution. It would serve as a place farmers can combine produce with other farmers creating a single locally grown brand.

"You see these bigger buyers grocery stores, schools, hospitals that are interested in high volumes that these guys just can't supply," said Lanford. "If you start to pull a lot of different supply from a lot of different small growers you can generate enough volume to make it feasible for a large buyer to buy from that source."

The Waccamaw Market Cooperative and Clemson Extension chose the new location for a farmers market based off of surveys that showed many market customers have Carolina Forest zip codes.

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