By Jennifer Bridge
This year it will be more important than ever to buy local fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, and fresh-cut flowers at your local farmers’ market. As Kentuckians, we can support local farmers to help sustain our homegrown food supply. Buying from your farmer also builds a strong local economy. It helps keep money within the community and encourages a healthy environment. Visit your local farmers’ markets and/or join one of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) plans for fresh fruits and vegetables in abundance.
Shopping at farmers’ markets is a sustainable way to support the local economy. It provides you and your family with nutritious foods that taste delicious. Buying local fresh produce that is in-season ensures better-quality produce that tastes better because it is picked that morning. There are plenty of fruits and vegetables available July through September. Blackberries, cantaloupes, watermelons, apples, and plums present a rainbow of colors for your diet. Eat them immediately after washing or after making a great cobbler. You will find vegetables too, including beans, beets, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, and more. Kentucky Proud has an in-season chart available at https://www.kyagr.com/marketing/documents/FM_ProduceAvailabilityGuide.pdf. Check it out year-round for season-fresh produce to feed your family now. You can also purchase in bulk to preserve for use during the winter months. Your local county Extension office has more information, including recipes.
If you really want to ramp up the amount of fruits and vegetable you are eating, consider joining a CSA. With a CSA, you support a local farmer by buying a portion of the crop before the growing season. You reap the benefits once the crops are harvested. Each week, you will receive familiar vegetables, such as tomatoes and zucchini but maybe some unusual produce such as Ubatuba peppers or squash blossoms.
You can also expand your local food experience by checking with local restaurants to see if they buy local products to use in the meals they prepare and serve.
The Meade County Farmers’ Market is open on Tuesday from 11-2, Saturday from 9-noon and Sunday from 1-3. The Power of Produce program is back again this year just in a different format. This program is focused on getting kids to eat fruits and vegetables. Kids participating at the market on Tuesdays between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. will have the opportunity to earn up to $3 to use at the market that day. For more information check out the Meade County Farmers Market Facebook page or contact the extension service at 270-422-4958.
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