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Fresh at the Farmers Market
Saturday is opening day at downtown market
FARMERS MARKET Web
In this Herald file photo from 2010, eggplant and peppers abound at the Mainstreet Farmers Market. The market opens Saturday for the 2012 season with vendors, crafts and fresh local produce. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/Herald File

What else is happening at the Farmers’ Market?
    April 7: GSU Day, Opening Day
    April 28: Celebrate Strawberry Days at the Market
    May 5: Data Destruction Day at the Market
    June 19: Corny Days at the Market
    June 30: Melons Alive!
    July (each Saturday of the month): Market around the World
    August (each Saturday of the month): Celebrity Chefs
    September (each Saturday of the month): School Days at the Market
    October 20: 5th Annual GSU Sustainability Fair
    November 17: 5th Annual Turkey Trot
    November 20: 5th Annual Shopping by Lantern Light, season closing

    Spring is in the air, and along with the warmer weather, it’s bringing with it one of the Boro’s favorite annual staples: the Mainstreet Statesboro Farmers’ Market.
    If you haven’t yet discovered the Market, an open-air gem held 34 Saturdays out of the year in the Sea Island Bank parking lot in downtown Statesboro, you’ve been missing out on your chance to shop for some of the best locally produced fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, plants, baked goods, crafts and much more from over 40 local vendors.
    On Saturday the Market will celebrate its season opening as well as its partnership with Georgia Southern. Debra Chester, the Mainstreet Statesboro Farmers’ Market manager and chair of the Market’s Community Advisory Board, says Saturday’s “GSU Day” is meant to recognize and appreciate the importance of the Market’s partnership with the college. (GSU president) Dr. Brooks Keel and his wife, Dr. Tammie Schalue, will serve as honorary Market managers for the day.
    “GSU Day at the Market provides another opportunity for the community and the Eagle Nation to come together,” said Chester. “Fresh food, fellowship and showcasing our region’s farm impact is what the Market is about, and GSU is a large reason for our success. We have many
customers, educational exhibits and enthusiasm from the university.”
    The Market places great emphasis on learning about the foods we eat, and this week, the educational exhibits will be hosted by various departments of GSU.
    The College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art will present its completed “Farmers’ Market” eagle of the Eagle Nation on Parade project, and GSU nursing students will be on hand to offer shoppers blood pressure checks.
    Elsewhere, Georgia Southern chefs from Eagle Dining and students from the Department of Nutrition will provide samples of and suggestions for using Market foods to whip up healthy, economical meals. Representatives from the GSU Museum will also be on hand, and the Botanical Garden will share tips on selecting native plants for your garden.
    “Young adults are more aware of the need for healthy foods and easily appreciate the chance to buy local and seasonal food,” said Chester. “We are attempting to share with them easy ways to prepare foods and make the food more accessible to them.”
    The focus on GSU’s involvement and importance to the Market’s success goes beyond the Sea Island Bank parking lot, however. The Market also periodically takes its products to the university, setting up right behind the Williams Center on the GSU campus. This year, on-campus markets are scheduled for April 3, April 17 and May 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    Buying online is yet another option, as Statesboro Market 2 Go (www.statesboromarket2go.locallygrown.net) offers shoppers the chance to buy from local vendors online and then pick up their groceries in town. Online orders are accepted between Friday and Tuesday each week, and orders may be picked up on Thursdays between 4:30–6:30 p.m. either at Sugar Magnolia Bakery or the M.C. Anderson Recreation Park at the RAC on campus.
    With more than 1,200 visitors from six counties each Saturday, the Mainstreet Statesboro Farmers’ Market serves as a regional hub from farmers and shoppers alike, and Saturday’s opening celebration includes live music, health screenings and snacks.

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