Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Uptown Westerville Farmers' Market: Columbus Dispatch features Local Farmers' Markets

The Wednesday, June 3rd, Columbus Dispatch featured and article by Robin Davis detailing information on Farmers' Markets and market produce:


Market time
Customers anticipate crops grown by area farmers
Wednesday, June 3, 2009 3:12 AM

Robin Davis


The two hottest words in food today?

Local and seasonal.

Food bought from farm markets and pick-your-own farms engages consumers in both.
For many people, eating locally grown produce provides a prime reason for patronizing farm markets.

Last year, in a survey conducted by the Social Responsibility Initiative at Ohio State University, 64 percent of the respondents at the Clintonville Farmers' Market described the purchase of locally grown produce as important.

"I see a growing awareness that urban areas should be places of local, seasonal food," said Laura Zimmerman, market manager of the North Side offering.
The draw of locally grown produce in season means that more people seek to participate in the markets.

"We've seen an increase in the number of farmers who want to come and in the number of customers who come," Zimmerman said.

The market has 40 vendors this year, with a waiting list of 16 others.

In the first weeks of the market, which opened May 23, about 1,200 people attended each Saturday -- up from last year, she said.

In less-populated areas, too, farm markets are booming.

The Union County Farmers Market, for example, has expanded to 20 vendors, coordinator Kathy Custer said.

"Ten years ago, we would have been lucky to have eight," she said.

For customers at the Tuesday and Saturday markets in Marysville, the seasonal fare is especially appealing.

"You can have the crafts and baked goods," Custer said, "but people like the fruits and veggies."

Last year, in fact, the organizers had to stop the midweek market in May because of the unavailability of the top three foods sought -- sweet corn, tomatoes and green beans.

This year, the Tuesday market won't begin until July, just as those vegetables come into season. (The Saturday market started May 16 with some early spring vegetables as well as plants.)

"We try to educate people about seasonal eating," Zimmerman said.

Few customers, she said, attend the market in May expecting heirloom tomatoes.
Conversations with farmers excite customers about what is already offered -- and what to anticipate in the months ahead.

"They love meeting people who have grown their food," Zimmerman said of customers. "Everyone is so glad the season is here."

Click here for printable Ohio Proud Produce Availability Chart.

Click here to view interactive farmers' market map.

Click here to view the farmers' markets directory.

Click here for the Uptown Westerville Farmers' Market spotlight page.

Photo image: Strawberries from Doran's Family Farm.. by Linda Foor. ©2009 Brickstreet Communications. All rights reserved.

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