Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Market Shopping Tips

Eek!  Opening Day is less than 2 weeks away!

Shopping at the farmers' market is certainly a different experience from buying groceries at the supermarket - and a much more pleasant one, if you ask me.  Whether you are new to farmers' markets or a long-time regular, we hope these tips will help you to make the most of your visit.

1.       Know your seasons – Having an idea of what to expect can make for smoother planning and shopping.  Check out a seasonal produce chart or talk with farmers about what might be ready for market in the coming weeks.

2.     Get there early – The best produce goes fast!  Arriving at the very start of the market will give you the greatest selection of goods, both in terms of variety and quality.  Highly perishable items will also be freshest earlier in the day.  The market opens at 9:00 a.m. on Saturdays and 3:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.

3.     Bring small bills and keep cash easily accessible – Most items only cost a few dollars.  While vendors can usually make change, they appreciate small bills and/or exact change when possible.

4.     Bring your own bags – Bringing your own bags is great for the environment and saves the vendor a little bit of money.  You might also consider bringing a small cooler or ice packs if you plan to purchase meat, eggs, or other items that must be kept cool.

5.     Leave the dog at home – Due to health and safety regulations, no animals are permitted on the market premises with the exception of service animals.

6.     Bring your kids – Not only is the market a fun family outing; it is also a great setting to teach children about healthy eating, sustainability, and where their food comes from.  When you get home, ask them to help prepare a meal or snack with the produce you bought together.

7.     Scope out the scene – Take a lap around the market before you buy.  Multiple vendors might be selling the same items.  Whose looks the freshest?  Who has the best prices?  Are you looking for specific variety or an organically grown option?

8.     Be flexible – You never know what will be available on any given day at the farmers’ market, so keep an open mind.  Rather than have a list of specific items you need, think about what meals you plan to prepare during the week and be open to substituting different veggies if you need to.

9.     Get to know the vendors – Take the time to say hello to the farmers as you shop.  They can often give you a preview of what might be coming next week, information about their growing practices, or (best of all) delicious tips for how to prepare and enjoy their produce.

10. Try something new every week – Part of the fun of the farmers’ market is exploring varieties you can’t find at the supermarket, so step outside  your comfort zone.  And be ready to deal with real, whole foods.  Market produce is unprocessed, so carrots will be unpeeled and root veggies likely come with their green tops attached.  Don’t be afraid to ask how to prepare foods  you may not be accustomed to.

11. Take advantage of the market information booth – In addition to general market information, our booth this season will feature a weekly recipe and activities or giveaways on our special events days.

12. Wash everything when you get home – Since you are getting products straight from the farm, you may find that a little dirt, sand, or even small bugs come home with you, too.  Rinse all produce thoroughly before eating it.  If you have the time, wash, dry, trim and store everything when you get home so that your fruits and veggies are ready to go when you need them.

There you have it!  Soon you'll be shopping like a pro and enjoying the freshest produce around.

See you at the market!

Sources:  ModernFarmer.com,  BlueCrabMartini.com,  
YellowBlissRoad.com,  RD.com,  TheKitchn.com

Monday, May 8, 2017

2017 Market Coming Soon!

Hello market-goers!!  I hope you have all had a wonderful winter and start to spring.   Can you believe it is almost market season again? 

Opening day is Saturday, June 3!

First things first – you can find us at our same locations, days, and times.  The market is open:
  • Saturdays from 9:00 to noon behind S&T Bank at 8th and Church Streets and 
  • Wednesdays 3:00 to 5:30 on Wayne Avenue in the parking lot across from KCAC

You will see many familiar faces and hopefully some new ones, as well.  Saturday markets will continue to feature local artists, community groups, kids’ activities, musicians, chef demonstrations, and workshops.

So, what’s new in 2017?

First, you may notice a slight addition to our logo and a new theme across our promotions – The Indiana County Farmers' Market is a Producer-Only market!  We have been this way all along, but many of our customers were unaware that we have the producer-only standard. 

What does this mean for you?  Our vendors sell what they grow or produce.  Our farmers are not permitted to buy from produce auctions, etc. and resell to you.  This ensures that you are getting the freshest produce straight from the source and that the farmer can verify exactly how it was grown.

In other news, our blog this year will feature the true stars of the market – fresh produce and all of the other delicious products our vendors have to offer!  You may remember a weekly vendor profile last year, helping to introduce our farmers.  This year, the spotlight will be on a different vegetable, fruit, or other market product each week, including nutritional facts, fun trivia, and recipes!

If you’d like to receive our weekly updates straight to your inbox, e-mail us at indianafarmmarket@gmail.com to be added to our mailing list.

Speaking of recipes, be sure to stop by the new market booth on Saturdays for our recipe of the week.  The recipe will include the week’s featured vegetable and a list of ingredients you can purchase right there at the market.

Finally, please mark your calendars for the following special event days for this season:

June 3:  Opening Day
June 24:  Kids’ Day
July 29:  Customer Appreciation Day
August 19:  Pollinators Day
September 30:  Harvest for the Hungry

As you can tell, we’ve been busy this winter and hope that even more improvements are on the way!  Looking forward to another great season!

See you at the market!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Off-Season Sales

Market season may be over, but we will continue to share updates, recipes, and other resources from time to time throughout the off-season.

Our first update is an exciting one...Although the market may be closed, you can still buy some of your favorite local products from our vendors!  Below is a list of vendors who continue to sell during the winter months.  We hope you will continue to support our local farmers!

3 Ponds Farm - While 3 Ponds may not be selling all winter long, they still have beets and onions available to sell.  Contact them via their Facebook page or e-mail 3pondsfarm@gmail.com.

Fat Radish Farm - A variety of produce with in-town pickups is available, including Dino kale, Red Russian kale, pak choi, spinach, mixed greens, arugula, radishes, parsley, dill, Hakurei turnip, and pickled beets.  Please e-mail fatradishfarmpa@gmail.com to check availability and to place an order.

Mahoning Creek Farm - Pastured Angus Beef, Duroc Pork, and Lamb available year-round.  The farm store is now open in the farm house Fridays 2-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays 2-5 p.m.  Deliveries twice a month to the old Giant Eagle Express parking lot on Wayne Avenue in Indiana.  For more information or to place an order, call 724-541-5717 or 724-286-9671 or e-mail sales@mahoningcreekfarm.com.  You can also check out their website and Facebook page for updates and special sales.

Shine Natural Beauty - Shine Natural Beauty has goat milk soap, lip balm, body butter, and other natural products available all year long!  Visit our website to order.  During the holiday season, gift sets are also available, so check out our Facebook page to see what is in stock.  Custom orders can be requested through e-mail (sostreets@aol.com) or by calling 814-266-1759.

Remember to "Like" Indiana County Farmers' Market and your favorite vendors on Facebook.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Final Market of 2016!

Last chance for fresh, local, yummy (and delicious) produce and your other favorite market goodies!!  

This Saturday is our final market of the year, so bring the family down to stock up on your favorite local produce, baked goods, meats, eggs, honey, and more!

If you want to be the first to know about market happenings and the start of the 2017 season, be sure to subscribe to our e-newsletter by e-mailing indianafarmmarket@gmail.com.  

You can also "like" us on Facebook for market updates, articles, recipes, and more!

In search of a simple, versatile dinner idea?  Look no further than this Roasted Fall Vegetable & Italian Sauasage Sheet Pan Meal.  Not only can you find all the ingredients you need at the market, but you can also substitute whatever veggies you like most!  

See you at the market (one more time)!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October 22nd Market

Last Saturday was as beautiful a market day as you could ask for, and we are hoping for more of the same for our final two markets of 2016!  You can still find us this Saturday and next behind S&T Bank with lots of delicious produce, meats, eggs, baked goods, honey, and more!

If you don't already receive our e-newsletter and want to see market updates, recipes, and more throughout the off-season, be sure to e-mail us at indianafarmmarket@gmail.com and ask to be added to the list!

You can also "like" us on Facebook for market updates and articles.

As the weather cools, you might just need a tasty treat to warm your belly.  Nothing says fall like fresh, local pumpkin pie or baked apples!

See you at the market!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

October 15th Market

Can you believe we're already halfway through October?  The countdown is on - only 3 Saturdays left to enjoy Indiana's best fresh, local produce, baked goods, meats, eggs, honey, and more!  Stock up on your favorites while you can!

Remember to stop by the market before or after IUP's Homecoming Parade.  You can find us in our regular location behind S&T Bank at 8th and Church Streets from 9 to noon.

It's the season of winter squash, and you can find several types at the market, including butternut, spaghetti, delicata, and more.

Need some inspiration?

This looks like a delicious variation on butternut squash soup - and you can find many of the ingredients at the market!

Ever wonder about how to prepare spaghetti squash?  This recipe is as simple as they come - and it is to much fun to scoop out!

See you at the market!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Week of October 5 & 8

 Thanks to all who joined us on Saturday for a cool (and slightly wet) fall morning market!  There are still a few weeks left to enjoy your favorite fresh, local produce.

This Wednesday, October 5 will be our final Wednesday afternoon market of the season, so be sure to stop in one last time!

Our regular Saturday morning market continues through the end of October.  You can still find a great variety of produce, including beets, beans, eggplant, peas, carrots, garlic, wild mushrooms, chestnuts, apples, pumpkins, winter squash, gourds, flowers, baked goods, meats, eggs, and more!

Last week we enjoyed a great beekeeping workshop with Dave Varney.  He shared his expertise on keeping bees in Pennsylvania, including building a hive with local swarms.  He showed off basic beekeeping equipment, a live bee observation hive, and more.  Thank you to the entire family for sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm with us!

If you are interested in getting started with your own hive or learning more about beekeeping, check out the Indiana Pa honey bee group on Facebook.

See you at the market!