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Holiday Farmers Market in Orangeburg ends hiatus to encourage support of small minority owned farmers

This year's farmers market was the first one held since 2015. Farmers sold fall produce like sweet potatoes, collards, fruit, and peanuts.

ORANGEBURG, S.C. — The SC State 1890 Holiday Market gives people a taste of local fall harvest.

It started 12 years ago through the efforts of retired SC State Extension agent Ishmail Washington to address the needs of small and minority owned farmers with limited resources.

“We began with our agriculture program with them teaching first of all production, sustainable agriculture practices and so forth and then we got to a point where ok good now we have taught them how to grow it, now the thing is how to sell it," said Washington.

This year's farmer's market was the first one held since 2015. Farmers sold fall produce like sweet potatoes, collards, fruit, and peanuts.

Shop Local, Buy Local 🥬️🍎🥜🍊 Our first farmers market in over 10 years was a huge success! We are thankful for the...

Posted by SC State 1890 Research & Extension on Tuesday, November 15, 2022

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According to farmer Larry Harris, this is prime season.

“If it’s a good season like we are now in the fall, we have three seasons of the year that people are gonna look for wholesome fresh greens and sweet potatoes. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s," said Harris.

He says selling his goods at the farmer's market makes it more accessible to those on a fixed income who may not afford grocery store prices.

As a farmer, he's overcome his own share of obstacles.

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“Being  a person of color at my age, a lot of us give up but the median age for most farmers is 65 years old. I wasn’t gonna let my age at 78 stop me from farming," said Harris.

In addition to selling goods, farmers got the chance to network with each other.

“It gives them the chance to network and get together and talk about some of the issues they face and it also gives the extension agent a chance to meet them and talk about some of our more modern farming techniques," said extension agent Mark Nettles.

Over the years, the market has expanded with plans to return in time for next year's fall harvest.

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