COLUMBIA - Hugh Weathers, South Carolina's commissioner of agriculture, announced that Gov. Nikki Haley has proclaimed August as Farmers Market Month in South Carolina, an extension of National Farmers Market Week, Aug. 7-13.
To celebrate farmers markets as a valuable part of the state's food distribution system and to encourage consumers to buy local produce and products, Weathers encourages everyone to eat local by shopping at any of the department's three farmers markets or nearly 115 community-based markets across the state, an increase of 15 in one year.
"The local farmers market is a great place to teach children about the origin of their food," Weathers said. "It's also a great way to support your local farmers by buying locally grown."
He added consumers should look for the Certified SC Grown logo. "If you don't see it then ask for it," Weathers said.
Farmers markets allow consumers to have access to locally grown, farm fresh produce and products and enable farmers the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with their customers. Direct marketing of farm products through farmers markets continues to be an important sales outlet for agricultural producers throughout the state and nation.
"Farmers markets play a major role in the economic growth of the state," Weathers said. "When people visit farmers markets, it's more than just a place to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. It's an opportunity to help maintain important social ties, linking urban and rural populations."
Weathers asks the people of South Carolina to connect with their agricultural roots by visiting their local farmers market or stopping by one of the three state farmers markets at 3483 Charleston Highway in West Columbia, 2513 W. Lucas St. in Florence and at 1354 Rutherford Road in Greenville.
Discover the wide variety of fruits and vegetables as well as plants, flowers, and other agricultural products available.
To find the nearest community-based farmers market, visit www.agriculture.sc.gov and click on Farmers Markets Directory under Publications.To find those who grow, produce, and sell local products, click on the Certified SC logo.