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Blythewood area residents who’ve come to depend on the town’s Farmers Market for fresh produce, eggs and other items will still be able to “shop local” all winter. The market’s regular season ends Nov. 17, but a winter market will pick back up the week after Thanksgiving, according to market coordinator Michaela Barno.

Starting Wednesday, Dec. 1, farmers will be set up in Doko Meadows Park for one hour, from 4 to 5 p.m. Barno said vendors include a dairy farmer, Hazelwood Farms, selling milk and other items; and a meat farmer, Crazy Chic Heritage Farm, selling beef, pork and eggs. These vendors will also have a limited supply of nonperishable items from other vendors, including grits, honey, pickles, jam, baked goods and soap. Other farmers that will participate on a variable basis include Bushels and Bags and Two Creek Farms selling seasonal produce, and The Shrimp Guy selling seafood from the coast.

Barno said shoppers can also submit a request form to order from their favorite regular-season vendor in advance for pick up on Wednesday. Shoppers can sign up for a weekly newsletter with the order form HERE.

“We love being able to do this because it's a direct response to our guests requesting we please not stop,” Barno said. “It's become clear our market is truly a specialty grocery store. Other markets are heavy on artisans and food trucks, where we are heavy on farmers and other "grocers" that make grits, pickles, honey, biscuits, jams, and bakery items. Our guests come week after week because they are filling their fridge. The milk, eggs, roasts and veggies they need are grown right here.”

Barno said the market had a regular rotation of more than 30 vendors over the summer and has continued to be popular in its eighth season thanks to word-of-mouth and recent economic trends.

“The direct-to-consumer model these farmers and producers have doesn’t rely on a long supply chain,” she said. “People who may not have been aware of where our food comes from are now noticing, like the shortage in chicken products we see in grocery stores. People are also choosing to spend their dollars to support local entrepreneurs who help keep that money in the local economy. Our acceptance of SNAP benefits makes it easier for people to purchase their groceries locally, and the fact that we’re outdoors in a beautiful park means we're just an uplifting environment to shop in.”

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