Farmers’ market returns Saturday

Corey Friedman | Daily Journal Paul Knecht of Rockingham, left, sells a parsley plant to Rockingham resident Frances Godwin at the farmers’ market on Harrington Square May 23.

Corey Friedman | Daily Journal Ellerbe-area resident Marion Martin arranges a wreath at her This ‘n’ That Flowers booth May 23 at the Rockingham Farmers’ Market. The Robeson County native sells her wreaths for $45 to $50 and offers basket bouquets priced around $25.

Corey Friedman | Daily Journal Jose Huitron of David’s Produce is pictured beside brimming baskets of squash and zucchini May 23. Huitron sold out of strawberries, carrots, onions, turnips and collard greens by 11 a.m.

Corey Friedman | Daily Journal Barbara Watkins shows off a display of bead bracelets at her Free Earrings For You booth at the Rockingham Farmers’ Market.

Corey Friedman | Daily Journal Gina Woods of Gina’s Gems describes her jewelry to Maryann Deese at the first Rockingham Farmers’ Market of 2015.

ROCKINGHAM — For shoppers who swipe bank cards and rarely carry cash, a trip to the farmers’ market will no longer require a trip to the ATM.

The Rockingham Farmers’ Market plans to give customers the option of paying with credit and debit cards in addition to electronic benefit cards for those receiving nutrition assistance.

Electronic payment systems are still in the process of being implemented, but look for cashless checkout at the farmers’ market later in the 2015 season.

The market opened April 25 with its new Saturday location in downtown Rockingham’s Harrington Square. Hours are 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays at the square and 3:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays outside the Richmond County Department of Social Services building.

“The Rockingham Farmers’ Market is a producer-only market, ensuring the freshest produce and plants, eggs, honey and other food products,” said Susan Kelly of the N.C. Cooperative Extension’s Richmond County Center. “Local artists and crafters are also offing unique handmade and homemade items.”

New this year are vendors from neighboring Anson, Scotland, Montgomery and Moore counties, along with Marlboro County, South Carolina. Kelly hopes the downtown Rockingham market will become a regional draw.

Organizers announced in April that the farmers’ market would soon be able to accept EBT cards, ensuring that families receiving benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, would have access to fresh local produce.

“Every market is trying to do this, but it’s not easy,” Kelly said. “We’re hoping it will reach out to additional clientele.”

Those using the food stamp program will be able to swipe their card and will be given tokens to spend at the market. Vendors will then cash out at the end of the day.