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Market celebration is planned

Visitors to the Suffolk Farmers’ Market on Saturday will have a few extra attractions besides high-quality, local produce.

The market on North Main Street will host live banjo music, farm animals, special discounts and food samples this weekend, all to celebrate Farmers’ Market Week in Virginia. Gov. Bob McDonnell recognized this week as Farmers’ Market Week to recognize the state’s support of local farmers, promotion of health and wellness and encouragement of community engagement, according to a press release.

In addition to the farm animals, banjo tunes from Michael Durig and special discounts from select vendors, patrons also can enjoy a rag rug weaving demonstration and enter a drawing for organic soil amendments provided by Growing Green Acres Farm.

“We’re just trying to add a little bit more visibility to our market,” said Lynette White, director of tourism for Suffolk. “It might be warm, but the farmers’ market is alive and strong.”

The downtown market has had about 20 vendors each Saturday throughout the summer, White said. Several more vendors are on a waiting list.

In addition to the local celebration, a statewide photo contest will earn entrants a chance to win a Virginia Grown and Virginia’s Finest prize package worth $100.

“There are a rising number of markets in the commonwealth,” White said, noting that there are nearly 200 markets in the state. “It’s being green, eating wholesome, eating local.”

Digital photographs taken at any Virginia farmers’ market between now and Aug. 18 will be accepted for the state contest. Go to VirginiaGrown.com for complete information on the contest.

Besides the downtown market held every Wednesday evening and Saturday morning, a market is sponsored by Governor’s Pointe on Bridge Road in North Suffolk every Friday evening. Private businesses like Farmer Frank’s on Holland Road and Bennett’s Creek Farm Market on Bridge Road also source an overwhelming majority of their produce from local farmers.

The downtown market continues through September from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and from 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. It is held at Market Park, adjacent to the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum at 326 N. Main St., sponsored in part by the Obici Healthcare Foundation, and managed by the Suffolk Division of Tourism.