From June 13 to October 31, Curt Collins of the Sylva Farmer’s Market and Avant Garden will host Cullowhee’s first farmer’s market at the Cullowhee United Methodist Church.
The market will be held every Wednesday from 5 p.m. until dusk unless the church has a wedding or funeral during the time slot. Only fresh, locally grown produce are sold.
Local farmers and businesses, such as Full Spectrum Farms, come together to sell anything from quail eggs to fresh kale.
While plans had once been made for a farmer’s market to be held on Western Carolina University’s campus, the Cullowhee Farmer’s Market is the first market to be held in the area. The market comes as a branch off the Sylva Farmer’s Market, which is held on Saturdays.
Collins said he feels the extra day is needed, saying, “We only have one day for local foods. Farmers are getting backed up and need another outlet.”
Although the market is young, it already appeals to a certain demographic. The new market allows for anyone getting off work in the evening, especially the faculty and staff of Western Carolina University, to stop in as they please.
When asked about the market, Dr. Gael Graham, a history professor at WCU, said, “It’s great. The timing is a lot more convenient than the Saturday market.”
Though attendance is small, those who choose to come to the Cullowhee market have so far been impressed.
“I love it. I want to support it. I’ve told several friends to help promote it,” Becky Lipkin said.
Previously, anyone wanting locally-grown produce would have to visit the Sylva market early in the morning, which causes conflict with customers who go out of town or sleep in Saturday mornings.
In the wake of an unusually warm summer, the Cullowhee market can also provide a cooler atmosphere. The Sylva market is set up on pavement and the early morning schedule allows for the market to only heat up, whereas the Cullowhee market is set up on grass at the peak of the heat with time to cool down.
The new market has another benefit: healthier food options.
“At least with the Cullowhee market, you know where your food is coming from,” said Collins. “You’re not even really sure where the produce from other places comes from. Our farmers grow most of their food organically and don’t put out genetically modified or engineered produce.”
By purchasing local goods, consumers are fully aware of where their produce came from, who picked it and the methods used during the growing process.
For more information on the Cullowhee Farmer’s Market, check out The Whee Farmer’s Market Facebook page.