Hey, Hickory, have you noticed a bit more fresh in your fresh-air-and-sunshiny Blue Ridge locale lately? That’s because the annual Downtown Hickory Farmers Market is now underway, bringing together “fields, folks, and fun” for a seven-month-long fresh fest that runs through November.
The Farmers Market is just one of the many fabulous things to do in Hickory North Carolina, a town of many claims to fame, including booming businesses and college campuses, world-famous hand-crafted furniture, world-renowned art walks, beautiful community parks, and lovely temperate seasons that provide favorable year-round growing conditions for a variety of crops.
This charming mountain-lake town with nutrient-rich soil and moderate climate is a grower’s paradise that wins raves from local farmers and community gardeners. Many of Hickory’s finest restaurants and gastropubs offer seasonally changing menus with organic veggies and meats sourced from local farms. No matter the season, locals and visitors alike can always count on home-grown specialties as part of the fresh dining experience.
That’s just how it is in Hickory! People here understand the value of supporting their hometown farms by buying local. There are obvious economic benefits to feel great about. Buying local cuts down on fuel and travel time from farm to table, reducing the community’s carbon footprint, improving the environment and the local economy. And the benefits don’t stop there! Eating locally grown produce means your veggies are packed with nutrients and less likely to have been refrigerated, artificially ripened, or contaminated. Long (and delicious) story short, farm-to-table living is good for your own health, your family’s health, the health of the community, and the health of the planet. It’s a win-win-win-win!
But how do you maintain that farm-to-table lifestyle throughout the year? That’s where the Hickory Downtown Development Association (HDDA) comes in. They know locally-grown products are important to their community. That’s why they sponsor the Downtown Hickory Farmers Market and pack the seven-month-long schedule of events with tons to do, see, taste, and enjoy.
At its centrally located train side setting under The Sails, the Hickory Downtown Farmers Market brings the farm into town! Dozens of enthusiastic farmers from local and family-owned farms are on hand to meet and greet their customers and offer the “glory of a good harvest,” which includes fresh produce, grains, plants, flowers, and shrubs, as well as a surf-and-turf bounty of select meats and mountain trout. They stock their stands with locally sourced honey, eggs, and cheeses, fresh baked goods, marinades, preserves, and pickles. And it’s all presented in a festival atmosphere, enhanced by live music, games and events, booths for buying bushels of fresh ingredients, plus dried herbs and spices, artisan crafts, Chefs’ Market creations, street foods, and more.
The Downtown Hickory Farmers Market promises “a soulful feeling and a sense of belonging,” and, as the HDDA says, “for the first time, you’ll know what happiness smells like.” We’re pretty sure we can smell it from here! Or is that the scent of sweet ripe strawberries, which are currently at peak season (April to June). How do we know? The HDDA has provided a handy produce calendar on the Downtown Hickory Farmers Market web site. And we have to admit we’re counting down the days ’til summer when the peaches, cantaloupes, and watermelons will be ripe on the vine! But there’s plenty to do while we wait…
Throughout the month of May, the Downtown Hickory Farmers Market offers family-friendly activities, including “Spin a Kid to Camp” and “Kids Corner Activities” sponsored by the YMCA, plus live music from local performers Kitty G&M OD, Sherrill Keever, Kevin Lee Smith, and ELVIS!
Warm June breezes will be scented with floral notes as the Downtown Hickory Farmers Market ushers in the Lavender Festival starting on June 10th and keeps the party going with Eat, Drink & Be Local Week starting June 17th. And there’s even more live music from Bob Sinclair & The Big Deals and Piedmont Percussion Program’s Steel Drums with Rick Cline.
As the summer rolls on, the fresh just keeps on coming with more music, more kid stuff, more family events, and our favorite fruits, along with the rest of the huge summer harvest, including farm-fresh potatoes, peppers, peas, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, beans, and (get your chompers ready) corn-on-the-cob!
Be sure to stay tuned in to the online event schedule. Even though the Farmers Market festivities continue on through October and November – grape harvesting season, by the way (did someone say home-made wine?) – the schedule will be adjusted to accommodate two of the most popular things to do in Hickory North Carolina – the annual Oktoberfest (October 14) and Shuck-n-Peel Festival (November 11).
Are you sold on Hickory yet? We have to admit, it’s one of our favorite mountain towns in Western North Carolina. But there are lots more like it. You know, the charming towns along the Blue Ridge that get you thinking about exploring NC mountain real estate – or as we like to call it, your very own slice of heaven in the foothills.
What makes these towns so heavenly? Just ask the people who live there, in places like Hickory and nearby Lenoir. These are people who escaped the daily grind to retire in the great outdoors, surrounded by gorgeous terrain in a secluded gated mountain community that’s just minutes from outdoor adventures, art and culture experiences, dining hot spots, and exciting night life. These are the thrill-seekers and chill-seekers who relish both the adventure and relaxation that only comes from mountain living.
Not far from Downtown Hickory, a whole community of outdoorsy types with a penchant for fishing, hiking, community gardening, wine-making, and living life to the fullest are enjoying all these benefits and more at The Coves Mountain River Club, a 3,600-acre mountain community with five miles of river frontage along the Johns River. Amenities here include a community vineyard and garden, and the Lenoir North Carolina weather makes finding your inner gardener a breeze!
Residents of The Coves can take a 40-minute scenic drive to the Downtown Hickory Farmers Market to enjoy the bounty of locally grown fresh produce, and pick up a few growing tips from friendly farmers to take back with them to Isabel’s Garden and Evelyn’s Vineyard, where they plant and sow their own delicious produce and harvest their own Muscadine grapes alongside neighbors and friends. Later in the year, they’ll sit together on the porch of The Coves’ community lodge, where they’ll enjoy 360-degree views of majestic mountain ranges while they share a beautiful farm-to-table meal complemented by their own home-made wine from home-grown grapes. Life doesn’t get much better than that.
When you’re ready to tour a selection of beautiful NC mountain real estate to find your own slice of heaven in the foothills, give us a call at 828.754.0700 and schedule your visit to The Coves. We’ll help you plan your visit to experience the nicest Lenoir North Carolina weather and catch the best of the Downtown Hickory Farmers Market, Oktoberfest, Shuck-n-Peel, and other fun things to do in Hickory North Carolina.
If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.