by Sandi Huddleston-Edwards

HUNTERSVILLE – Do you want to spice up your holiday gifts with tasty treats and unique gifts? If so, consider a trip to your nearest farmers’ market to buy locally grown food and chat with the growers. You might enjoy the pleasant surroundings, oftentimes augmented by music, educational activities and other special events. These markets support small farmers who can retail directly to consumers.

Huntersville native Suzanne McCord Crawford understands the importance of farmers’ markets. When Crawford began Yah’s Best Products in 2005, she sold at the Huntersville Farmers Market, Charlotte Regional Farmers Market and the State’s Farmers Market in Raleigh and still does even though her 70-plus product offerings are sold at local businesses and shipped all over the world. On Saturdays, steady streams of shoppers sample her tortilla chips, salsas, hummus, dressings, jams and sauces.

“I love her products because they are made with natural ingredients from her own back yard,” said Pat Osborne, of Davidson. “Her salt-free chips are good for people with blood pressure problems and restricted salt diets.”

As Crawford knows, it’s a win-win situation when local markets like the Davidson Farmers Market, the Lincoln County Farmers Market at Denver and Huntersville Farmers Market support small growers. They are supporting the local economy.

Growers and artisans, like Gisela Hoffman, of Gastonia, Monroe resident Pam Hyatt and Klaus Schick, of Mount Holly, are committed to selling their products.  Hoffman’s cranberry relish is “the most unique item I sell, and it’s a once a year item.”

Hyatt, of A Lit’l Taste of Heaven, sells homemade fried pies, brown-and-serve biscuits, and other bakery goods.

And Schick, who grows Bonsai trees, said, “It’s not the Bonsai that blesses the person; it’s the person who blesses the Bonsai.”

So avoid the season’s hustle and bustle by relaxing at the farmers market and purchasing locally grown or handmade gifts.