CHINA GROVE — The Market at the Mill will kick off its third season this afternoon from 4 to 7 p.m. at the China Grove Roller Mill on Main Street.
Sponsored by the Historical Society of South Rowan and supported by the town board, the local farmers market plans to add vendors and special events this year.
The Market at the Mill is open from 4 to 7 p.m. every Friday, May through September.
Alan Goodman is market manager.
“I hope that we can bring a renewed agricultural awareness to the community this year,” Goodman says. “We have a rich history of agriculture in Rowan County, but I hope we can highlight the agriculture of today and encourage folks to be a part of that by gardening and shopping at the farmers market.”
The market will hold two contests this year: Largest Watermelon and Best Tomato. The Largest Watermelon contest will be open for entries throughout the market season, with the winner announced Sept. 7. Participants must pre-register and bring their melon to the market to be weighed. Multiple entries are allowed; melons must be grown in Rowan County. Goodman Farm Supply is sponsoring the watermelon contest providing a $100 cash prize to an adult and youth winner.
The Tomato Contest will be judged at 2 p.m. on July 21 as part of the Farmers Day celebration. Participants must submit five tomatoes for judging. All must be grown in Rowan County. The criteria for judging will include appearance, taste, meatiness and the absence of a core. L.L. Goodnight and Sons is sponsoring the tomato contest, providing a $100 cash prize to an adult and youth winner.
The China Grove Farmers Market offerings include produce, meat, eggs, honey, baked goods, plants and crafts.
Vendors include full-time farmers who attend area markets daily, home gardeners who are first-time vendors and local high school FFA programs.
Vendors must produce at least 50 percent of the produce they sell; produce not grown by the vendor must be labeled with origin.
In addition to Friday evenings, the China Grove Farmers Market will be part of China Grove’s annual street festival, Farmer’s Day, on Saturday, July 21.