Western Pa. markets support National Farmers Market Week
Farmers market operators in Westmoreland and Allegheny counties are planning activities next week in observation of National Farmers Market Week.
The Aug. 5-11 observation helps boost awareness and attendance, according to its website, and local plans include food tastings, activities for kids and special events.
Sponsoring Farmers Market Coalition holds the nationwide celebration to showcase the value that farmers markets bring to their communities, according to the organization’s website.
LIGONIER SETS WEEKEND EVENTS
“We have a full slate of activities planned to bring the message of National Farmers Market week home to Ligonier and surrounding communities,” Cari Frei, Ligonier Country Market executive director, says in a release.
“There are so many reasons to participate in the farm-to-table lifestyle, from eating nutritious, locally sourced foods, to supporting local farmers and food producers. We invite shoppers to visit us for these special events in August and throughout our season to see all that the market has to offer, from home-grown foods to locally crafted items,” Frei adds.At 2 p.m. Aug. 10, Farm to Table Western PA will host a free “Lunch and Learn” at the Eastwood Inn. Food vendors can connect with area restaurants and consumers and showcase their locally grown and produced foods.Reservations are required. Details can be found here.During the market’s regular hours, 8 a.m. to noon, on Aug. 11, plans include a farm-to-table tasting, with Farm to Table Western PA representatives hosting a food cooking and tasting demonstration at one of the special features tents.“They are going to shop our vendors that day to assemble the ingredients for a meal. And then they are going to cook the food right here at the market to show how easy and fun it is to shop for and prepare meals with locally grown or farm-raised foods,” Frei says.Market mascot Daisy Mae will lead kids in creating vegetable stamp art prints under a special features tent in the market’s children’s garden, the release states.“Kids are sometimes afraid to touch or eat vegetables, as parents well know. But engaging them through an art activity will be a fun and creative way to pique kids’ interest in eating fresh produce. And maybe they’ll even become interested in helping their families in the garden at home,” Frei says.Additional activities will include a Roots of Life vendor representative drawing free caricatures for visitors, an 8 a.m. farmers’ market themed bingo game and scavenger hunt led by market board member Brooke Sowers, and the 6 p.m. third annual harvest dinner at the Loyalhanna Watershed Association’s Nimick Family Education Center.Market vendor Green Gables Restaurant will prepare the entree for this farm-to-table community dining experience, with additional vendors providing appetizers and desserts.Tickets are $50 per person and $90 per couple.Details: 724-238-7560, Ext. 1.PITTSBURGH LAUDS GROWERS AND MAKERS
At 10 a.m. Sunday, Councilman Corey O’Connor will present a proclamation from Mayor William Peduto to city market managers at the Squirrel Hill farmers market.
According to a news release, Pittsburgh has had continuous, weekly farmers markets since 1942 when the Farmers Market Cooperative of East Liberty first purchased its building and created a coop to bring fresh food into the city. Pittsburgh currently is home to 25 markets, with hundreds of regional farmers and vendors selling a wide variety of local products.
U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics note farmers markets and farm stands account for roughly $2 billion of the $3 billion that Americans spend annually on farm-direct products. This revenue, in turn, supports the livelihoods of more than 165,000 mostly small and mid-sized farms and ranches.
“We realize that to be a resilient city, we must have a sustainable local food system. Farmers markets are central to creating the urban-rural connections that are key to that system,” Peduto says in a release.
All farmers’ markets accept food stamps (SNAP), credit and debit cards as part of Just Harvest’s Fresh Access program. For every $5 spent in food stamps, receive an extra $2 to spend on produce.
Find a directory of Pittsburgh’ farmers’ markets here.