Want to go?

The Fridays Farmers Market gathers 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Fridays  at the Shoppes at Birkdale Crossing, 9525 Birkdale Crossing Drive, Huntersville.

By Corinne Hester

HUNTERSVILLE  – Spring is the time to go local, so start each weekend with a visit to the area’s newest market at the Shoppes at Birkdale Crossing.

Glenwood Development owns the shopping center and has offered to let local vendors set up for free on the green every Friday this spring and summer. The market opened for the first time April 26.

"Glenwood Development is very proud to sponsor the Fridays Farmers Market at Shoppes at Birkdale Crossing and is excited to have Unity Farms as its lead produce supplier,” Katie Schutrum said. “We hope our local residents, as well as those just passing through, will enjoy the convenience of the market.”

Schutrum, whose husband, Mike, is a partner with Glenwood Development, had the community in mind when she envisioned the Friday morning market. She said the shopping center, which is home to Office Depot and Hickory Tavern, is the perfect location for the market because it is visible and easily accessible.  The company is extending a nearby parking lot to market customers.

Vendors set up tents amid the azaleas for the first time last week, boasting signs of “Local Strawberries” and “Fresh Goat Cheese.”

Kristin Stone, who owns Unity Farms with her husband, Jason, covered tables with fresh fruit, greens, tomatoes and root vegetables, as well as Unity Farms products such as soap and dried herbs. 

Just how fresh is the food at the Friday Farmer’s Market? 

“My nephew picked the greens early this morning,” Stone said at last week's market, pointing to containers of organic arugula and spinach. 

Anne Cain, of Daddy’s Girl Dairy, heard about the opportunity to sell her fresh goat cheese at the market from Kristin Stone.  The two vendors like to set up shop together at community markets.

“I like being able to provide a local, quality product that’s fresh,” Cain said.  “There is just no comparison.” 

Cain shared her tent with a local meat vendor from Brushy Creek Farms.  Other vendors included Delish Cakery, Duke’s Bread of Charlotte and fresh-cut flowers from the Yang family home in Statesville. 

The Shoppes at Birkdale Crossing offers direct access to and from Birkdale Commons Parkway through an adjoining parking lot, so customers coming from Birkdale neighborhoods never have to get on busy Sam Furr Road.

Schutrum lives in the Birkdale area with her family.  She encourages customers to walk or bike to the Friday market with young children and pets in tow. The six-hour market allows plenty of time for shopping, she said. 

“We truly care about the community in which we live and work," Schutrum said.