YORK -- York is celebrating all things homegrown and handmade this month at the Downtown York Farmers Market.
Gov. Mark Sanford has proclaimed August as Farmers Market Month in South Carolina, an extension of National Farmers Market Week, Aug. 3-9. Additionally, Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers encourages everyone to "Eat Local for a Day -- the Certified South Carolina Way."
"The local farmers market is a great place to teach children about the origin of their food," said Weathers in a press release. "Ask the farmers questions. They are passionate about their products and would love to talk about them. Look for recipes. Try something new."
York's market has taken off this summer, thanks to the efforts of organizers Signa Curry and Jim Dickerson.
"We are seeing familiar faces each week, and that tells me we are definitely doing something right," Curry said. "People are starting to make the market a stop during their morning errands, whether it's for Asa's eggs, Colleen's soap, Sallie's honey or Henry's tomatoes."
The market usually sees 11 to 15 vendors on a given Saturday, but has room for up to 32 spaces.
"It's your typical market where the truck farmer brings in what he's harvested throughout the week," Curry said. "It's all local homegrown or handmade."
To celebrate Farmers Market Month, the York market will provide donuts and drinks for vendors this weekend. Also, they plan to unveil new features later this month including a new permanent, decorative sign and seasonal garden flags. A vendor appreciation picnic also is in the works, Curry said.
There are more than 75 local farmers markets and three large state farmers markets in South Carolina, the release states. Economists say that every $100,000 increase in farm sales creates up to five new jobs and generates another $200,000 in economic activity.
"When people buy from farmers markets, they add to the farm income and help them stay in business," Weathers said in the release. "It also helps the environment because their food travels a shorter distance to get to the market."
Curry added that many customers also are going green by bringing their own bags.
York's market is open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, although some vendors are on site throughout the week.
Fall will mark the return of the bakers and more crafters, Curry said. Also, the market will be open through December to offer Christmas trees and other special holiday items.