Our View: Farmers’ market deserves praise

Published 10:26 am Monday, August 6, 2018

Saturday morning the smell of fresh barbecue and the sounds of live music and fellowship wafted through Depot Street, where the Winchester-Clark County Farmers’ Market hosted the annual Holy Smokes BBQ Contest and Fundraiser.

The event, where market-goers could sample meats from five smokers and vote on their favorite, was well-attended with dozens upon dozens making their way through the long lines.

Although, Meat Misters of Shepherdsville was victorious, the real winner was the local farmers’ market.

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The event was a fundraiser for the market, which operates on historic Depot Street from spring through fall each year.

Currently, the market is open from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays.

The contest was to raise money for a permanent structure to be built at the market. However, it was fitting the event fell this weekend, which kicked off National Farmers Market Week.

This year, the annual recognition of the importance and impact of farmers markets on their communities, is recognized Aug. 5 to Aug. 11. National Farmers Market Week was founded by the Farmers Market Coalition.

According to the coalition, “Farmers markets facilitate personal connections and bonds of mutual benefits between farmers, shoppers and communities. By cutting out middlemen, farmers receive more of our food dollars and shoppers receive the freshest and most flavorful food in their area and local economies prosper.”

The number of farmers markets in the U.S. has grown rapidly in recent years, from just under 2,000 in 1994 to more than 8,600 markets currently registered with the USDA.

We believe the Winchester-Clark County Farmers’ Market is a superb example of a quality market.

The market has grown tremendously over the past decade and that growth continues each year. The many volunteers who put hours of work in annually to facilitate and organize the market deserve praise for their efforts.

The local market participates in various programs that help put fresh, healthy foods on the tables of every family in the community. Programs like WIC, SNAP and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program offer access to the freshest of produce to some of those who struggle most to access it.

Farmers’ markets are mutually beneficial because local farmers help their communities with access to produce — that they know where it came from, how it was grown and who grew it — and the community helps support local farmers with their valuable dollars.

Additionally, our local market offers various community-building opportunities throughout the season with the annual Veggie Fest, Kids Day, Holy Smokes and more.

The market, the member farmers and the volunteers deserve a lot of recognition for all that goes into making our market incredibly successful.