Hickory – As local summer crops start ripening once again, Catawba County Public Health’s Farmers Market is returning for an eighth season.

The market’s main goal is to offer a safe and convenient way for people to purchase and consume farm-fresh fruits and vegetables. It is open to the public weekly and accepts cash, debit cards, SNAP/EBT, WIC and senior farmers market vouchers.

Farmers market hours are Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and it operates from June 18 through September 24. It is held, weather permitting, in the Public Health parking lot at 3070 11th Ave. Drive SE, Hickory, NC 28602. Conveniently located off Fairgrove Church Road, behind Catawba Valley Medical Center, the market has ample parking and is accessible by Greenway bus routes 3 and 4.

The market has put the following safety measures into place to help protect residents:

• Vendors spaced further apart to encourage social distancing
• Encouraging farmers, staff and customers to wear masks or face coverings
• Hand sanitizer and cleaning products are being provided for all of our farmers to use at their tables
• Reminders throughout the market for social distancing, hand sanitizing
• Encouraging people to “shop with their eyes” and let the vendor pick and bag produce to reduce people touching produce
• One-way traffic so people don’t meet face to face

If you are sick, or someone in your home is sick, please stay home and have a neighbor or friend shop for you instead.

The market improves individual and community health for everyone by increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clients receive Farmers Market Nutritional Program vouchers when available to supplement their WIC food benefits with fresh, local produce during the summer months.

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 benefits are redeemable at participating food stores and farmer’s 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. Appointments can be made online at https://catawba.seamlessdocs.com/f/2vhqyyjtr5n4 or by calling (828) 695-5884.

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. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. www.nutritionnc.com/nondiscrimination.htm

For more information, please call (828) 695-5800 or visit www.catawbacountync.gov/phealth.