Hickory – As local farmers start harvesting the first of their summer crops, Catawba County Public Health’s Farmers Market is returning for a fourth season – but with one major change. The market will take place an hour earlier than last year.

The weekly market is set to run on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. from June 2 to the end of September. It will be held, weather permitting, in the Public Health parking lot, 3070 11th Ave. Dr. SE, Hickory, NC 28602.

The market is open to the public, and cash, debit cards, EBT, WIC and senior farmers market vouchers will be accepted. Ample parking is available, and the market can also be reached by two Greenway bus routes. Around 275 customers attended the market each week last season and purchased produce from dedicated vendors. The Public Health Farmers Market saw a double-digit increase in the use of EBT at the market last year.

In partnership with the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, the market’s goal is to improve individual and community health by increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables. WIC clients receive Farmers Market Nutritional Program vouchers when available to supplement their WIC food benefits with fresh, local produce during the summer months.

Public-Health-Farmers“We started the market hoping to see not just increased access to healthy foods, but also increased redemption of WIC Farmers Market Nutritional Program vouchers,” said Julie Byrd, WIC Director at Catawba County Public Health. “We’ve been excited to see how well received this market has been in our community, and we hope it continues to be a great resource for healthy foods for our residents and clients.”

Catawba County WIC clients interested in receiving farmers market vouchers this year may call (828) 695-5884 for more information.

WIC is a federal supplemental nutrition program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women and children up to age five. The program helps prevent nutrition-related problems in pregnancy, infancy and early childhood. WIC vouchers are redeemable at participating food stores and farmers markets for fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, milk, juice, eggs, cheese and cereal, among other nutritious items. WIC also provides nutrition and breastfeeding counseling.

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

Catawba County Public Health promotes and protects the health of all Catawba County residents through preventive services, innovative partnerships, and community health improvement initiatives. For more information, please call (828) 695-5800 or visit www.catawbacountync.gov/phealth.

Photo: The Public Health Farmers Market will begin welcoming shoppers and vendors for its fourth annual season beginning June 2.