Farmers Market Grand Opening Saturday

UNION — When a business or other organization or institution holds a grand opening the event usually includes a ribbon-cutting ceremony, but when the new Farmers Market holds its grand opening this Saturday they’ll be cutting watermelon.

The Union County Chamber of Commerce is urging the public to support Union County’s farmers by attending the 2015 Farmers Market Grand Opening and Watermelon Cutting ceremony this Saturday at 11 a.m.

The Farmers Market is located at 529 East Main St., Union between the Union County YMCA and the Union County School District’s Adult Education Center. The market was previously located on North Mountain Street but relocated to its new location after the City of Union built a new facility for it on Main Street to give it increased visibility and additional parking space.

The market will open Saturday at 6 a.m. to give the public ample time to stop for and purchase locally grown produce before the Grand Opening and Watermelon Cutting ceremony is held. Once the watermelon is cut formally opening the Farmers Market, those in attendance will have the opportunity to enjoy a slice of the cool, healthy fruit.

Chamber of Commerce Director Torance Inman said the cutting of the watermelon is in keeping with the purpose of the Farmers Market which is to promote Union County’s farming community and give the county’s farmers a venue to sell locally grown produce.

“The ceremony will be different in that traditionally you cut a ribbon, but we’ll be cutting a ripe watermelon,” Inman said. “We are doing this to help publicize the Farmers Market in its new location and urging the public to come out and patronize it and our farmers.”

Since relocating to its new Main Street location, the Farmers Market has been a stop on the 2015 Catawba Regional Ag + Art Tour which was held the last weekend in June. The market was open the entire weekend and tourists were invited to visit the market and experience local fare including in-season fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, grass fed beef and pastured pork.

In addition, the market is one of the farmers markets where low-income seniors can use coupons issued through the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program to purchase fresh produce. The goals of the program are to supplement the diets of low-income seniors with fresh, nutritious produce while also supporting South Carolina’s small farmers.

In June, the Union County Council on Aging and the SC Department of Social Services partnered to distribute 400 of the free coupons to seniors who met the program’s low-income requirements. In the course of the two public distribution events in June, 380 of the coupons were distributed with the remainder being distributed by the Council on Aging on an individual basis. Seniors who received the coupons will be able to use them to purchase up to $25 worth of fresh produce at the Farmers Market through Oct. 15.