Apex, N.C. — With warm temperatures slowly returning and summer getting closer, it won't be long before North Carolina residents begin enjoying an abundance of fresh produce.
For many, local farmers' markets become the go-to source for locally grown fruit and vegetables during the summer months.
The Apex Farmers' Market, which opened Saturday morning for the 2013 season, will need an uptick in attendance this season in order to continue the tradition in 2014.
Debbie Lubcker, the manager of the Apex market, said more people need to attend in order to make the market thrive.
"We could possibly close down," she said. "I'm not going to sugarcoat it. It is what it is, you know."
A year ago, attendance dwindled over the summer after a strong start. Vendors slowly pulled out, and disappointed Apex residents quit coming. Lubcker said she's not sure vendors will stay long if attendance is low again this spring and summer.
"I need the community to come out and support us," she said. "We need the support throughout the year, from the beginning to the end of market season."
Apex's farmers' market runs through September and is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday.
Shopper Julia Dovel said the whole town of Apex should be on North Salem Street every week.
"In these times, it's important to buy local," she said. "It's important to be here every weekend."
Town officials agree, considering the weekly boost the farmers' market brings to other Apex businesses. They held an emergency meeting earlier this week, pledging to help the market.
Creedmoor farmer Daniel Wiebke said he counts on local markets like the one in Apex.
"This is not my only job, but we've got four people here and that is jobs for them," he said.
Lubcker says Saturday was a good start and added that Apex would only need about 200 people to attend the farmers' market each week to keep it in business.