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Thursday January 20th

Fair Local Organic Food held its biannual farmer’s market

<p>Lydia Ippolito and her daughter Carina Ippolito offer samples from their Delight Soy stand at the Fair Local Organic Food spring farmer’s market Thursday.</p>
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Lydia Ippolito and her daughter Carina Ippolito offer samples from their Delight Soy stand at the Fair Local Organic Food spring farmer’s market Thursday.

For students that weren’t running to an exam, Thursday’s walk to class was the ideal time to pick up local produce thanks to a collaboration between a student organization and Carolina Dining Services.

Fair Local Organic Food and CDS hosted its semi-annual farmer’s market in the Pit.

“We’re trying to get students more aware of farmers markets in general,” said Alexandra Willcox, FLO’s organizing representative and market manager.

“This year we brought representatives from the Chapel Hill and Carrboro farmers markets to talk to students to get them to come out to get food and produce from a local market.”

Willcox said FLO has worked to bring vendors to UNC for more than five years.

Representatives from 17 groups set up tables and tents in the Pit to sell everything from farm-fresh vegetables to homemade soap.

A few years ago, UNC alumnus Dorian West and his wife quit their jobs to open the Hillsborough Cheese Company and sell their cheeses at local farmers markets.

“I’m surprised because when I was a student, I didn’t care as much, but they are more enlightened and aware,” said West, the self-titled Big Cheese at his cheese-producing company. “They are actually interested, more so than the people who just come to shop.”

Representatives from The Farm at Penny Lane, a therapy farm located near Chapel Hill, sold produce and eggs beneath a tent. The farm gives mental health patients access to sustainable food sources.

“I’ve been encouraged today — lots of people are buying our things, even the things that need cooking, so I guess there’s a change in the wind here,” said Doug Jones, who works with The Farm at Penny Lane.

Metzli Rodoli said she was tempted to buy produce when she stopped in the Pit between classes.

“I think it’s a great idea bringing fresh vegetables to campus because if not, we’d be living off of ramen noodles because it’s there and it’s available,” Rodoli said.

FLO is a student-run organization that supports the local economy and teaches students about the area’s food climate. The once-a-semester farmers market, Willcox said, is a way to introduce students to local sources of food and other products.

The fall farmers market was rained out and moved from its usual location in the Pit to the Great Hall in the Union.

“We want students to realize that they can do this all the time. It’s important to eat local — support local businesses,” Willcox said.

At the Hillsborough Cheese Company’s stand, sophomore Sean Petersen sampled cheese with a friend.

“It’s really cool to see local businesses, farmers and groups that are making local produce and sharing with our community so that people in the area can see what they are doing.”

CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story misstated the full name of the food organization. The farmer’s market was hosted by Fair Local Organic Food. The story has been updated to reflect this change. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.

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