Tis’ the Season for Fresh Goods from Farmers’ Markets

On Saturday, June 14th, the West Newton Farmer’s Market held their opening day festivities for the community. There were a variety of activities that took place in Simeral square ranging from children’s activities, a USA Flag Ceremony, music, and a variety of vendors to shop for local food from at the farmer’s market. Connellsville started their farmers’ market on July 5th. K&S Gardens, Litton Greenhouses, and Michael Edwards sold produce ranging from beets and Swiss chard to fresh herbs. They also distributed Local Bucks, which is a program that allows families to buy fresh produce from the farmers’ markets.

Looking to start shopping at farmers’ markets in your local Trail Town ? Here are five tips to get you started:

1. Find out where your food is coming from. Cutting down on the number of miles it takes for food to travel to your market does not only provide you with a better quality product, but helps your local economy too.

2. Find out what your farmer uses in terms of pesticides, if any. Pesticides often incorporate ingredients that are toxic and often carcinogenic. Certified organic produce does not use the pesticides often found on regular produce.

3. In regards to #2 though, just because a product is not certified organic, does not necessarily means it is bathed in pesticides. Small farm owners can’t afford the costly certification by the USDA. That’s why farmers’ markets are in some ways better than your local grocery store; you can look the farmer straight in the eye and ask anything about the produce they’ve placed on the table.

4. Be careful of buying unpasteurized products, such as cider, milk, or cheese. These kinds of products are susceptible of carrying bacteria such as salmonella if not treated, which can be life-threatening to the very young and old, pregnant women, and those with autoimmune disorders. There are benefits to unpasteurized products though, similar to how a product doesn’t necessarily have to be certified organic. Check with your doctor to make sure you and your family are healthy enough beforehand.

5. Bring your own bag and/or cooler. You help the environment by reusing your bags and you help the small-time farmers by not using the bags they had to purchase.

What will you find at your Trail Town Farmers’ Market?!