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May 7, 2014

Old Town Farmers Market opens for 2014

Rock Hill’s Old Town Farmers Market reopens on Thursday with live music, free activities for children and local food, produce and crafts for sale.

Rock Hill’s Old Town Farmers Market reopens on Thursday with live music, free activities for children and local food, produce and crafts for sale.

Organizers are looking to continue the growth seen at the downtown market in recent years. Since moving to the Old Town Market Hall location on Caldwell Street, vendors are enjoying increased sales, said Chrys Tuttle, market manager.

“More and more, people are learning that we have a farmers market,” Tuttle said.

The market is entering its fifth year and has changed locations almost every year. With a permanent location on Caldwell Street, Tuttle said, the market is poised for more growth and is expanding its offerings.

This year, vendors selling certain types of food and fresh produce will accept SNAP benefits, South Carolina’s food stamp program. Visitors can present their SNAP card at the organizer’s tent and receive tokens to buy food at the market.

Accepting SNAP and cash and credit cards, Tuttle said, ensures that “all people who live in Old Town – and in the greater Rock Hill community –will be able to access fresh, healthy foods at their local farmers market.”

Newly painted bike lanes on some downtown streets also will help visitors reach the market if they choose to ride a bicycle, she said.

This year, visitors will see some new options, she said, noting a new partnership with York County Master Gardeners who will offer free gardening advice on two market days each month. Master gardeners will be on hand on Thursday. The partnership highlights the market’s educational effort, Tuttle said.

“People want to know how to grow things themselves,” she said, while also getting to know local farmers who provide fresh meats and produce.

Rock Hill’s market boasts produce and other food and craft items from local vendors. Many of the farmers use organic methods.

Tuttle expects that up to 35 vendors will be present at Thursday’s market, which is open from 5 to 8 p.m. Up to 25 vendors may attend Saturday’s farmers market, held from 9 a.m. to noon.

The market is held every Thursday and Saturday through Aug. 28. Organizers have market memberships available.

Every market features free activities for children, live music and seasonal foods. During this week’s markets, the first 100 families will receive free market bags.

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