This week is National Farmers Market Week, and I wanted to spread some love for my local market (the Franklin County Farmers Market). They aren’t the biggest in the state, nor do they offer the variety of value-added products you might see in Lexington and Louisville, but the farmers are my neighbors, my friends, and I trust them with my food supply. I’m not biased, either! They were voted the #2 favorite farmers market in Kentucky in an American Farmland Trust contest and 46th in the nation!
My farmers market sits on the banks of the Kentucky River. Stalls line both sides of an open-air covered pavilion. The bounty of fruits and vegetables, locally raised meats, honey, eggs, soaps and beauty products, jams, jellies and breads astounds me every single week. The savvy consumer gets there early for the best selection. During certain special harvest times (like asparagus season), a farmer might run out of that offering before 9am! Strawberry season might be my favorite because there’s always one stall with a freezer full of fresh strawberry ice cream.
Not only do we buy bags full of fresh produce every week, but the farmers market is a social and entertainment hub as well. Most Saturday mornings feature a local musician entertaining marketgoers. Fresh coffee is offered for patrons, as well. I can honestly say that I’ve never been to the market where I didn’t run into at least 20 people that I know. I love being a part of a community that bonds over local food.
Looking at the big picture, I love that my farmers market is an impactful community endeavor. The three-times-weekly market brings people into our historic downtown business sector. Not only do those people buy produce at the market (putting money directly in the pockets of their friends and neighbors), but they also venture down Broadway for shopping, coffee-drinking and book reading. Economic dollars stay close to home. I’m certain I’ve financed at least one farmer’s vacation with the number of Zucchini Blueberry Muffins I’ve bought from her over the years. It’s neighbors helping neighbors. Our farmers market participates in the EBT program, so families who qualify for SNAP benefits can purchase healthier, more flavorful fresh fruits and vegetables, too. They are also participants in Senior Nutrition and WIC programs.
With over 500 farmers markets within a 200 mile radius of Frankfort, there’s one near you. Check out the National Farmers Market Directory to find one that I know you’ll love. Talk to the farmers. Try a new vegetable (ask for a tried-and-true recipe – you’ll get a great one every time). Enjoy the deals (3 enormous cucumbers for a dollar? Heck yes!). More importantly, enjoy your community, the local flavor, and some fresh eats!