The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Localvore in the Triad


Even on a dreary, cold and rainy Saturday morning in February, the Greensboro Farmers’ Curb Market is full of hungry patrons. Since the market is only open Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. this time of year, farmers, vendors and shoppers are eager to spend the morning together in one of North Carolina’s oldest marketplaces.

The market dates back to 1874, surviving a few moves around the town. It has been located on the corner of Yanceyville Street and Lindsey Street since the mid-1970‘s. Another part of Greensboro’s past, War Memorial Stadium, is located across the street.

Attending this market is by far the easiest way to meet the people that grow, process, and make your food. Bright green wooden tables are full of flowers, pastries, meats, dairy products, seasonal green vegetables, and handmade craft items. Each stall represents a grower or a baker or an artisan. Most will even offer you a free sample of their goods. During peak growing months, the market also hosts special events like an herb fair and farmer‘s appreciation day.

“All the money you spend here goes directly to the farmers, cutting out the middleman,” said Gerry Alfano, a volunteer board member for the Friends of the Greensboro Farmers’ Curb Market. “Farming is a tough life choice and this market supports people who grow full or part-time.”

Alfano is an animated and avid supporter of GFCM and readily shares her experiences. A previous employee of the City of Greensboro, which operates the weekly marketplace, Alfano now prefers to volunteer in an effort to preserve the integrity of the offerings in each stall. She is passionate about the families and where the products are grown, ensuring only local farmers and their harvests are represented.

The market is always full, making navigation through the sea of strollers and loaded bags a bit difficult at times. The diverse crowd varies widely from college students to senior citizens. But the customers are always interested in mingling, chatting with each other and the vendors about topics from what chemicals are used to grow the lettuce to the weather forecast in the coming week.

“It’s about the relationship you can develop with the farmers,” said Rodger French, resident of Greensboro and market regular. “It’s nice to meet the people that grow the food you are eating.”

Shopper and teacher at Caldwell Academy, Elspeth Glasgow, admits to seeking the market after a senior-year chemistry class taught her about the pesticide and fungicide impacts on people.

“They (scientists) still don’t know what these chemicals do to our bodies or the land,” said Glasgow. “In addition, I don’t want to buy old food from a grocery store; food that has been sent through a chain of middlemen. I want to support the families and farms locally.” 

Some shoppers come for the stories. Author Michael Pollan has written that people enjoy shopping at Whole Foods because of the tale that comes with their purchase. He refers to the pastoral scene printed on the packages or the advertising that you see displayed throughout the stores. If this is true, GFCM is the place to hear the story from the farmer directly.

Robert Roth, owner of Rothschild Farms, has traced his family roots back to ancestral farmers in Germany and Bavaria. Roth offers color brochures and warm, fresh homemade chili to every person that passes. He shares his story with anyone that asks. Additional farmers/owners of Calico Farmstead, Meadows Family Farms and Honeybee Harvest are also eager to chat and share their stories. Each of these farmers will be featured in an upcoming article for The Guilfordian.

Greensboro residents are fortunate to have a resource like GFCM so close to downtown. The offerings of fresh, seasonal and local produce is beneficial to the individual shopper and the community. Of course, some just show up for the hot coffee, fried pies and friendly banter. Either way, finding yourself at this market on a Saturday morning will warm your belly and your soul. 

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