Sunday, July 16, 2017

Week of July 19 & 22

Finally, we had such sunshine for both of our market days last week!  Saturday was gorgeous, and we had a great crowd!  Looking forward to more beautiful weather and busy market days to come.

Last Saturday, we enjoyed art by Ashley Bouton and information from SeniorLIFE Indiana.  We also welcomed two new vendors - The Spades and Wilds Market - and 8 Maples Farm joined us for the first time of the season!

This Saturday, stop by the Artisan Tent to shop handmade bath & body products by Lori Roberts.

This week, we also have a guest blog post!  Some of you may remember Sarayna Schock from our Community Tent a few weeks back.  Sarayna is a third year medical student from Penn State Hershey Medical Center and founder of Penn State ProduceRx.  She has been researching the benefits of healthcare-agriculture partnerships in Central Pennsylvania since 2015.  She was kind enough to share a post with us telling more about what she has learned.  Read on!

...But first...SAVE THE DATE!!

CUSTOMER APPRECIATION DAY is Saturday, July 29th!  We will have a full lineup of special tents, and a drawing for some of your favorite market goodies!  Bring the whole family for a fun morning at the market!

The Benefits of Healthcare-Agriculture Partnerships
Sarayna Schock

In 2015 when I set out to start a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)-patient partnership at our medical center, I was focused on helping connect patients with quality, nutritious food to benefit their dietary intake and chronic illnesses. It wasn’t until I began working closely with our initial partner farm that I began to consider what the program could potentially mean for local agriculture, local businesses, and the entire community.

I come from a long-line of farmers on my father’s side and healthcare providers on my mother’s side. I’ve come to appreciate that these two necessary sectors do not need to be mutually exclusive. Only 40% of Americans today consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, the recommended amount by US Dietary Guidelines (Guenther et al, 2006; Wilkins et al, 2015). Research has shown that plant-based diets are associated with improved weight management and reduced risk for chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers (Estruch et al, 2013; Lock et al, 2005). This equates to decreased healthcare costs for patients, employers, and the government. So why is it that healthcare-agriculture partnerships are so few and far between in our country?

In the past decade, there have been attempts to increase fruit and vegetable consumption amongst patients or underserved ‘food desert’ communities. These efforts have often utilized the ‘prescription-produce’ model in which physicians “prescribe” quality nutrition with the hope that patients will view the prescription with as much importance as they would a script for a statin to treat hypercholesterolemia. Past interventions have ranged from adding fruits to clinic offices to providing purchasing vouchers to grocery stores and local farmer’s markets (Buyuktuncer et al, 2014; Cavanagh et al, 2016; Quandt et al, 2013). Some of these interventions have even included one-on-one nutrition education or mentoring to individuals newly introduced to produce. However little has been done to link patients with Community Supported Agriculture.

Unlike grocery stores and farmer’s markets that patients must travel to, some located far from a patient’s residence, CSA programs often have pre-existing delivery sites throughout a specific region for participants to chose from. CSA links consumers with local farmers directly, allowing for patients to have an intimate connection with where their food is coming from and the farmers supplying it to them. These programs often include Open Farm Days or “Pick Your Own” opportunities, allowing participants the opportunity to develop an even deeper connection to the land their food is harvested from, as well as an appreciation for the work that goes into supplying the contents of their weekly boxes. For patients who have never seen an eggplant or kohlrabi before, receiving these items in their weekly box along with recipe ideas encourages utilization of produce that would have otherwise been skipped over at the grocery store.

Our partnership model also benefits the local economy. Partner farms benefit from the increased CSA share purchases, even while they offer the boxes at a small bulk discount to our patients. The program’s Facebook page and website serve as free marketing for the farms, as do the media opportunities the program sees due to it’s novel approach. Nearly all of our partner farms sell at local markets, allowing for additional purchases by participants, especially those closer to the markets and/or more willing to drive the extra distance after experiencing the quality of local agriculture. The farm’s participation in the program may also be seen favorably by non-program CSA members and thus encourage new non-program subscriptions and subscription renewals in this way. With new box drop-off sites being offered at local businesses and farmers markets this year, we anticipate increased profits for these local vendors as the box pick-up is bringing in new visitors to these locations. Similar to our partner farms, we also feature our partner markets and businesses online to increase marketing for them. These new connections between patients, local farms, and local businesses increase community-connectedness. In our pilot year, our initial partner farm cited receiving moving personal stories of gratitude and appreciation directly from program patients.

I believe the ProduceRx program model is easily replicable at other health systems across the country. I have found nearly all local farmers are enthusiastic about potential partnership in such a model as most entered farming to benefit the health of others while providing quality agricultural products to the community. In my experience it takes initiative from somewhere inside a health system to start such a program, as this is where the knowledge of “chain of command” is essential to move such a program proposal through the necessary channels to get approval and most importantly, support. I would encourage Indiana Regional Medical Center to make contact with local farms, three of whom have already expressed interest in participating in such a program, to address the most recent Community Health Needs Assessment’s identification of “obesity and overweight” as a major health problem and “healthy eating” as a top priority in the region (IRMC, 2015).

Sarayna Schock is a medical student at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania and founder of Penn State ProduceRx ( She is a former Certified Pharmacy Technician and veteran of the United States Air Force. Sarayna earned her B.S. in Environmental Studies from American Military University. She enjoys traveling, cooking, and gardening in her free time.

Buyuktuncer Z, Kearney M, Ryan CL, et al. Fruit and vegetables on prescription: a brief intervention in primary care.
J Hum Nutr Diet. 2014;27(Suppl. 2),186–193.

Cavanagh M, Jurkowski J, Bozlak C, et al. VegieRx: an outcome evaluation of a healthy food incentive programme. Public Health Nutr. 2016; doi: 10.1017/S1368980016002081.

Estruch R, Ros E, Salas-Salvado J, et al. Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean diet. NEJM. 2013; doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1200303

Guenther PM, Dodd KW, Reedy J et al. Most Americans eat much less than recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. J Am Diet Assoc. 2006;106:1371-1379.

Indiana Regional Medical Center. Indiana Regional Medical Center Community Health Needs Assessment. 2015; Accessed May 2017.

Lock K, Pomerleau J, Causer L, et al. The global burden of disease attributable to low consumption of fruit and vegetables: implications for the global strategy on diet. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2005;83:100-108.

Quandt SA, Dupuis J, Fish C, et al. Feasibility of using a community-supported agriculture program to improve fruit and vegetable inventories and consumption in an underresourced urban community. Prev Chronic Dis. 2013;10:130053.

Wilkins JL, Farrell TJ, Rangarajan A. Linking vegetable preferences, health and local food systems through community-supported agriculture. Public Health Nutr. 2015;18(13):2392-2401.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Week of July 12 & 15

 Last Saturday, we welcomed photographer Jenna Jusko to the Artisan Tent and learned more about the Summer Food Service Program in the Community Tent.

The Summer Food Service Program is a national program of the USDA that provides FREE  meals to kids during the summer months with help from local partners.  Our local Summer Food Program is at the Mack Park Concessions Stand Monday through Friday from 11-12, now through August 18th.

This week, we continue to see more and more variety in produce as we move through the summer and toward the peak of growing season.  Painter Ashley Bouton joins us in the Artisan Tent with a creative process she describes as "very expressive, action-oriented, and intuitive."  Our Community Tent will feature information from SeniorLife Indiana about their wide array of senior support services.

We also welcome two new vendors this week - Wilds Market and the Spades.  We look forward to having them as a part of our growing market!

And now to a slightly different (but very exciting) product of the week:

Fun Facts:

  • 76 million Americans eat beef every day.  More beef is consumed on Memorial Day than any other day of the year.  The Fourth of July and Labor Day typically tie for second place (
  • Beef is the number one source of protein, vitamin B12, and zinc.  Beef is also the number 3 source of iron behind fortified cereal and grains (
    • Zinc is an important trace mineral needed for proper functioning of the immune system and for our senses of smell and taste (
    • The protein in beef is a complete, high-quality protein that supplies all of the essential amino acids the body needs to build, maintain, and repair body tissue (
  • The hamburger made its international debut at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904.  Ground beef accounts for 40-45% of all beef sold today (
  • The top five most-liked flavors consumers enjoy with beef are onion, garlic, herbs, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon/citrus juice (
  • Today's beef is leaner than ever, and 67% of cuts sold in grocery stores are considered lean.  Find more surprising facts about lean beef and another recipe here.
...which leads us to...our Recipe of the Week

This Grilled Steak Salad is so delicious!  It is a favorite in our house, and you can add in any market-fresh veggies you like.  The recipe calls for lettuce, spinach, radishes, sweet onion, cucumber, and tomato, along with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.  Darlene from Mahoning Creek Farm recommends sirloin or chuck eye.  Chip steak is another good option if you aren't cooking on the grill.  Enjoy! 

We are still scheduling for our special tents through the end of September.  If you are an artist, musician, or are involved with a community organization or kids' group, e-mail us at if you'd like to participate!

Want our weekly blog posts sent straight to your inbox?  E-mail to be added to our mailing list.

See you at the market!

SeniorLIFE Indiana offers a wide array of support services to help seniors with personal, physical, and social needs - to maintain health, stimulate interest, and increase socialization.  Available homecare services make it possible for seniors to stay in their home, maintaining both quality of life and their independence.  SeniorLIFE is a Medicare Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) operating as a LIFE (Living Independently for the Elderly) program in the state of Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Week of July 5 & 8

The rain sure came down at the end of the Saturday market last week, but it couldn't put a damper on all of the exciting happenings!  We welcomed back Uncle Henry's Garden, enjoyed some delicious Yarnicks' sweet corn, saw the first of Nature Works' farm-grown oyster mushrooms, and shopped for summer favorites like blueberries, zucchini, cucumbers, and more!

Oh...and did I forget to mention our first chef demonstration of the season?  CH Fields Executive Chef Josh Truitt cooked up some amazing creations, including shaved carrot salad with goat cheese and fresh mint, seared sugar snap peas, and grilled flank steak and pork.  Yum!

We also enjoyed musical activities with Music Together in the Kids' Tent and information about water, streams, and watersheds from the Ken Sink chapter of Trout Unlimited.

This Saturday, we are looking forward to paintings by Courtney Scherf in the Artisan Tent and information on the Summer Food Service Program through the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank in the Community Tent.

It seems fitting to feature sweet corn as our market product of the week.  Customers wait all winter and spring for that first juicy bite!

Fun Facts:

  • Corn is a cereal crop that is part of the grass family.  This makes it a grain - not technically a vegetable (,
  • An ear of corn is actually a part of the plant's flower
  • Each ear of corn has about 800 kernels in 16 rows and always has an even number of rows on each cob (

Of course, sweet corn is delicious straight off the cob, grilled, steamed or boiled (just don't put salt in your boiling water - it makes the kernels tough!).  However, if you want something a little different, why not try this delicious grilled corn salsa.  You can find many of the ingredients at the market!

We are still scheduling for our special tents through the end of September.  If you are a local artist, musician, or are involved with a community organization or kids' group, e-mail us at if you'd like to participate!

See you at the market!

The Summer Food Service Program is a national program of the USDA that provides FREE meals to kids during the summer months with help from local partners.  Our local Summer Food Program is at the Mack Park Concessions Stand Monday through Friday from 11-12, now through August 18.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Week of June 28 & July 1

The 4th of July is almost here!  Remember to pick up everything you need for your celebration at the market this Saturday.  Along with the freshest local produce for your favorite dishes, you can find meats for the grill and cookies, pies, and more for dessert!

Despite last week's damaging rains and flooding, we had a great Saturday market with blue skies and over a dozen vendors!  We also had a great turnout of shoppers and a lot of fun with our Kids' Day event!

The Children's Advisory Commission of Indiana County set up an awesome Community Tent with a fun farm trivia game (complete with prizes) and photo booth.  The Girl Scouts provided crafts in the Kids' Tent of clothespin caterpillars or your own personalized pet rock.  Finally, the Market Info booth had a book and game about how your favorite vegetables grow.  There were lots of families and lots of smiles throughout the morning.  Thank you to all who participated!

This Saturday, we are excited to hold our first Chef Demonstration of the season!  Josh Truitt, Executive Chef at CH Fields (and a market favorite) joins us in the Artisan Tent to show ways you can enjoy fresh, local foods at your 4th of July barbecue.  Music Together will occupy the Kids' Tent with fun music and movement activities, including lots of instruments to play with.  Finally, the Ken Sink chapter of Trout Unlimited will be in the Community Tent providing information about water, local streams, and watersheds.  Be sure to stop in and say hello!

Our market product of the week returns this week as we highlight a favorite of children and adults alike - the sugar snap pea!

We are in peak season right now for these fresh, crisp, pea pods.  Unlike snow peas (which are flatter but also have edible pods), snap peas are full in shape and have round peas inside.  They are best eaten fresh, either raw or lightly cooked.

Fun Facts:

  • The sugar snap pea is a hybrid of green (shelling) peas and snow peas that was developed in 1979.  They were even bred with their fibers going in one direction so they are easier to chew (
  • Snap peas have fewer calories and more nutrients than shelling peas (
  • They are high in dietary fiber, which helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels (
  • An excellent choice for expectant mothers, snap peas are a great source of folic acid (

If you can stop munching long enough to put these sweet pea pods into a meal, try a refreshing salad with your favorite early-season veggies.  I love a mix of lettuce and other salad greens, snap peas, carrots, radishes, and anything else you love.  Really dress it up by throwing in a few fresh strawberries or blueberries!

Toss it with this simple homemade vinaigrette.

We are still scheduling for our special tents through the end of September.  If you are a local artist, musician, or are involved with a community organization or kids' group, e-mail us at if you'd like to participate!

See you at the market!

CH Fields (inside the Hilton Garden Inn) "believes in real food, grown and harvested by the good folks in our community who take care of their land for future generations."

Ken Sink Trout Unlimited is our local chapter with a mission to "conserve and restore the cold water fisheries in and around Indiana County Pennsylvania."

Music Together is an internationally recognized music and movement program for children birth through age five - and the grownups who love them.  Our local Music Together program is run in partnership with the IUP Community Music School.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Kids' Day is Saturday, June 24th!

This week, we are looking forward to our 2017 Kids' Day event!  Bring the whole family for a morning of FREE fun at the market!  As always, our Saturday morning market is open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at 8th & Church Streets, behind S&T Bank.

Stop into our new Market Information booth to learn about how your favorite veggies grow!  We will read the book "Up, Down, and Around" by Katherine Ayres, play a game, and go on a scavenger hunt around the market.

Next, stop in the Community Tent for games and information from the Children's Advisory Commission of Indiana County.

Finally, the Girl Scouts will be in the Kids' Tent sharing some of their favorite scout skills!

Follow our event on Facebook for more updates throughout the week.

Remember, our Wednesday market is also open from 3:00 to 5:30
p.m. on Wayne Avenue, in the parking lot across from the KCAC.

See you at the Market!

The Children's Advisory Commission of Indiana County (CAC) is a collaborative board representing school districts, human service agencies, health agencies, early education sites, and parents.  The group seeks to meet the needs of families and children in Indiana County through human service programs, family-friendly events, and information sharing to the general public.

The Girl Scouts are the preeminent leadership development organization for girls with a mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Market Week of June 14 & 17

It sure feels like summer now!  This week's post will be short and sweet as I, your friendly blogger, will be visiting family and enjoying the summer throughout the next week.  Products and recipes of the week will return after I'm settled back in.

While the weather posed a bit of a challenge last Saturday, we were happy to welcome back Zepchild Barefoot Sandals to the Artisan Tent.  Our Community Tent (and later the Market Info booth) was full of great information about healthy eating from Penn State Health.

This week, we continue our Wednesday market, including information about SNAP benefits and healthy eating from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Saturday, bring the whole family and stop by the Kids Tent for storytime with the Indiana Free Library.  It's also a great time to check out their free summer reading programs and activities for kids of all ages.  Summer programs run from June 12 - August 3 with the theme "Build a Better World."

Dan Stonerook returns to the Musician Tent with his unique style of "bearded, acoustic, bluesy, storytellin' music."  He is a market favorite, so be sure to take a listen and check out his new CD!  Finally, shop local art by Ashley Bouton in the Artisan Tent.

Save the Date!

Kids' Day is June 24th!  Bring the whole family for a fun morning at the market with all of our special tents presenting special activities for the kiddos.  More details to come!

We are still scheduling for our special tents through the end of September.  If you are a local artist, musician or are involved with a community organization or kids' group, e-mail us at if you'd like to participate!

See you at the market!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Market Week of June 7 & 10

Wow!  Thank you so much to everyone who helped make our opening day a success!  We had a great group of vendors, a full lineup of special tents, and an excellent customer turnout.  This makes me even more excited for the season ahead of us.

Saturday, we enjoyed handmade jewelry creations from CWS Designs, kid's yoga with Ed Stancombe of Sunflower Yoga, great conversation with the Center for Educational Travel, USA, and Dan Stonerook really set the market mood with his live acoustic performance.

This week, we look forward to keeping the momentum going with Zepchild Barefoot Sandals in the Artisan Tent and fruit and veggie health information from PennState Health in the Community Tent.

Speaking of the health benefits of fruits and veggies, our featured product of the week is everyone's early-summer favorite - Strawberries!!  

You can find fresh, juicy berries at many of our vendor booths this time of year.  Of course they are delicious all on their own, but here are even more reasons to love strawberries and a recipe for a homemade sweet treat.

Did you know:
  • Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese.  1 cup of strawberries gives you more than 100% of your daily vitamin C.  (
  • Vitamin C boosts the immune system and protects heart health (among other benefits), while manganese is good for bone health and helps regulate blood sugar, thyroid, and some hormones.  (
  • First cultivated in Rome, strawberries are a member of th rose family.  (,
  • They are the most popular berry fruit in the world!  (
For those of you with a sweet tooth, check out our recipe of the week for a simple strawberry rhubarb crisp (or pick up a freshly-baked pie from Country Bread Barn)!

We are still scheduling for our special tents through the end of September.  If you are a local artist, musician or are involved with a community organization or kids' group, e-mail us at if you'd like to participate!

See you at the market!