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Scott Bigelow | 910.521.6351 | scott.bigelow@uncp.edu
University Communications and Marketing

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Pembroke farmers market: Year two, looking forward

The sweet corn was plentiful Thursday at the Pembroke Farmers Market. The conversation was all about gardening and cooking healthy food.

Gene Priori shows off his flowers to from left Phyllis Queen, Tonya Sikes and Kim Locklear

Gene Priori shows off his flowers to from left Phyllis Queen, Tonya Sikes and Kim Locklear

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“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. Priori was also selling flowers and vegetables plants.

The market is located in UNC Pembroke’s Distance Education parking lot at the corner of Old Main Drive and University Road, just off Pembroke Main Street (3rd St.). It opened last year and is managed by the Sustainable Agriculture Program, which trains local farmers 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.”

The last class of 25 future farmers will go through the Sustainable Agriculture Program beginning in August and funding ends in December. So Locklear is working on sustainability.

“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.”

Daniel Locklear selling to from left: Kim Locklear, Tonya Sikes and Tiffany McDougald

Daniel Locklear selling to from left: Kim Locklear, Tonya Sikes and Tiffany McDougald

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Selling was brisk Thursday, but there was 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 UNC Pembroke graduate, was all about art Thursday. 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 who 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.”

Conversations at the stalls continued. Priori suggested a recipe for stuffed, baked squash to a customer.

Linda Clark, who with her husband, Dennis, sell their honey at the market every week.

“We got into beekeeping three years ago when my husband retired,” she said. “He had always wanted to do this.

“I grow the vegetables,” Clark said. “I just love watching things grow."

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