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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Frank About... Local Farmers Markets!

The onset of the weekend has me thinking about something you can find in your area, almost everywhere, especially this time of year. Farmers Markets are on my mind! 

There are so many great benefits to visiting your local farmers market, and making some purchases: you support farmers in your area, you can obtain some fresh, non-manufactured foods that are chock full of nutrition and healthiness, and really have some great, family fun. Most markets feature ONLY locally grown, locally prepared foods. You know that the vegetables and fruits you are getting were planted, tended, and harvested by the same person from whom you are buying it. Often, the produce will be grown with little or no pesticides. 

Farmers markets are also often full of family fun. For example, one of the local markets here, the Webb City Farmers Market, features live music at each of their markets on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. My son loves to listen and dance to their tunes. At the Webb City market, you can even find days when the historic street car is giving free rides around King Jack Park. Sometimes, you can even find demonstrations at your local market. Demonstrations on canning, jelly making, or healthy cooking from market goods are popular topics. 

Any given market day you could pick up lettuce salad mix, onions, garlic, tomatoes (even heirloom varieties), peppers (some even roasted right in front of you in a fire cage), honey, baked goods, some incredible berries and peaches, responsibly raised livestock such as lamb, bison, beef, poultry, delicious, healthy date bars made into a huge number of varieties, smoothies and fruited & herbed teas and lemonades, farm fresh eggs, some beautiful flower arrangements, starter plants for your own herb and produce garden, and much, much more. 

Do some research around your area, to find your own local farmers market. I challenge you to face the heat this weekend, get out early, and visit a local farmers market. Anytime we travel, I enjoy visiting their local markets, as well. 

Here are a couple of resources that may help you look up local markets and farms: 
If you are a Joplin area visitor to this blog, there are markets all around the Four State Area: Galena, Joplin, Webb City, and several more. The schedule for the Webb City Farmers Market is: Tuesdays & Fridays 11am-2pm and Saturdays 9am-12pm. It is located under the pavilion at the Main Street entrance to King Jack Park. 

So, if you've never been to a farmers market, get out there and try it out. You can go in with a list in mind, or just grab some random produce and research some projects you can make with them (or request some help from me!) If you are a regular market goer, kudos to you!!! Continue to support local, my friends! And definitely come back and comment on your experience! 

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