MOUNT HOLLY – The Mount Holly Farmers Market is beginning the 2019 season in its newly constructed home at 226 S. Main St. in downtown.
The structure is an open-air trellis system designed for 18 permanent spaces for vendors. Additional vendors during high-market season will use tents as in the past.
The market was founded in 2006 to give Mount Holly and Gaston County residents access to locally grown vegetables, fruits, cheeses, flowers and ornamental flora, grass-fed meats and fresh seafood. It quickly became successful as a means for shoppers to support area farmers and growers, as well as to source local, sustainably grown – and in many cases organic-raised – foods.
By meeting growers, residents also learn about the work involved in growing and raising the products, and about the health benefits of eating fresh, healthy food that doesn’t have to travel great distances to their tables. The market has also grown into a popular gathering place to connect with friends, meet new ones and enjoy the market programs.
“We have been researching options for a more permanent facility for our market over the past several years,” said market board chair Leigh Brinkley. “This wonderful structure frees up time for our dedicated volunteers who have set up as many as 32 tents every Saturday morning, then breaking everything down at noon, for 13 years. Now we can all concentrate more on working closely with our valued vendors and programming, such as our weekly live music, chef-led cooking demonstrations and healthy-living presentations.”
The new structure can also be used for other community events while serving as an attractive and inviting entry to downtown Mount Holly.
Tom Cox, owner of Gastonia-based Green Apple House, provided valuable expertise to the market board on materials and structural details, then built the structure using cypress for its strength, beauty and longevity.
“It is designed and built to sustain hurricane-force winds, deter insects, and ensure a strong and attractive facility for the city for many years to come.”
The facility was made possible by the efforts and donations of dozens of people and businesses, organizations including the Mount Holly Community Development Foundation and the property owners who supported the idea from the beginning and provided the space.
“As a (nonprofit) entity, we relied on grants from foundations, corporate donations and individual contributions to make this a reality,” said Brinkley. “We are so grateful to all those who stepped up in support of this project, including our market board members. Our goal was to fully fund it so that no taxpayer money was required. Thanks to a lot of hard work and generosity from so many people, we achieved that goal.”
Now that the trellis is in place, the next phase will include landscaping and beginning work on the Mount Holly Veterans Healing Garden at the site.