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A day at the farmers’ market

By Tyler Jarrell, Health Promotions Intern at Clark County Health Department

For many of us who live in small rural towns in Kentucky, there’s no better place to buy vegetables, fruits and meats other than the local farmers’ market.

The farmers’ market is open to the public, where farmers’ and their representatives have the opportunity to sell the food they planted, grew and produced themselves.

Of course, you can find more at the farmers’ market than just veggies or fruits but also connections and bonds of mutual benefits between farmers’, shoppers and communities.

Although, as we’re aware, the whole scope of the farmers’ market is to offer quality food, help support smaller-sized farmers’ who don’t seek to widen their horizon to industrial-size agriculture, as well as to increase the amount of locally grown food that’s available to shoppers.

Most of the time, as we all know, when we buy directly from a farmer, you’re pretty much guaranteed real freshness.

You’re also supporting local businesses or even maybe a neighbor by choosing to shop local rather than a high chain supermarket to which many of us are so accustomed.

One of the main things I have experienced while buying at the farmers’ market is you have the opportunity to engage in conversation with the farmer and ask them questions concerning their product.

For example, you may ask what the process is to grow their food, or you may even ask them how they go about raising their livestock?

Again, I heard these and many other questions this past Saturday at the Winchester-Clark County Farmers Market, not only coming from the shoppers but as well as other farmers’.

If you’re a resident of Winchester, you may have been aware of the Kids Day event that took place on Saturday, June 2, to help kick off the season as well as to promote the farmers’ market to our youth and families throughout the community.

Many different organizations, as well as local vendors and musicians, attended to help bring the whole day together. Children tasted samples, got their face painted, made paper from seeds, took home tomato plants and received vouchers they could use throughout the season to purchase their choice of vegetables, fruits and even eggs.

Besides all the fun things that took place, children learned about the farmers’ market and what it has to offer.

In the end, it was an excellent turnout, and everyone should look forward to next year’s Kids Day if you didn’t have the chance to make it out this year.

Kids Day isn’t the only thing the Winchester–Clark County Farmers Market has going for them. Of course, the market features an extraordinary variety of foods that change within the seasons.

But you’re also likely to find some local artisans set up who also bring some beautiful crafts to sell as well.

The market also offers other special events throughout the season.

The next available event coming up is the Community Farm to Table Dinner, which will take place in July; so be on the lookout for a specific date.

If you aren’t able to make it out to that event, then maybe you can make it on out to their next event: Veggie Fest. Veggie Fest features a guest chef who provides cooking (and tasting) demonstrations.

All those events sound amazing, right?

Just remember to keep in mind when you shop or participate in the activities at the Winchester – Clark County Farmers Market, you are supporting local individuals and your community.

The vendors you meet are all from Winchester / Clark County and the surrounding counties that share a border with Winchester.

The market is also considered a “grower only” market, which means there are strict limitations in place that restrict the resale of products from outside farmers’.

These are guidelines that are put in place to help ensure the products the consumers are purchasing are as fresh as possible.

In conclusion, before you go out shopping at your local chain supermarket, remember to shop local and try out your local farmers’ market first.

Remember when buying at the farmers’ market you’re preserving America’s rural livelihoods and farmland, stimulating your local economy, increasing your access to fresh, nutritious food and supporting a healthy community.

The Winchester-Clark County Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon on Depot Street in downtown Winchester.

For those of you who enjoy social media, make sure you like the Winchester Clark County Farmers Market Facebook page for more updates and specific dates throughout the season.

If you have questions, you can contact the farmers’ market by email at wccfarmers’market@gmail.com.