PEMBROKE — The sweet corn was plentiful at the Pembroke Farmers Market. The conversation was all about gardening and cooking healthy food.
“This corn is called Sweet Ice,” said grower Daniel Locklear of Maxton. “Better than Silver Queen — I guarantee.”
“Put just a little honey with the butter on corn,” said Gene Priori, a beekeeper from Maxton, who was also selling flowers and vegetables plants.
The market is located in The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Distance Education parking lot at the corner of Old Main Drive and University Road, just off Pembroke’s Main Street. It is open every Thursday at 6:30 a.m.
The market is managed by the Sustainable Agriculture Program, which trains local farmers and helps connect them with markets. Emily Locklear is the program director and works out of UNCP’s Regional Center for Economic, Community and Professional Development.
“Right now, I’m working to increase the number of buyers,” Locklear said. “We’re also working on an online marketing idea called Farmers Fresh Market.
“We are looking for a permanent location for the market,” she said. “Building a permanent market would help a lot of farmers in the future.”
Although selling was brisk on that recent Thursday, there was still time to talk about growing produce and making other products for the market. Geraldine Epps had tomatoes, a little okra and plums that sold out in minutes.
“It’s been a warm spring, so everything is coming early,” she said.
Terry Durham, a UNCP graduate, was all about art. He had photographs, oil paintings and jewelry for sale.
“I heard about the market from the River Roots Art Guild,” Durham said. “I liked the idea of an open air market like this.”
Locklear looked over the customers, many whom work for UNCP.
“This is good for the university in several ways,” she said. “Healthy food is always a good thing. It also gives exposure to the university because many of these farmers have never seen the university before.”