Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Opening Day Saturday!!!

Market season is finally here!  Opening day of the Indiana County Farmers' Market is Saturday, June 3rd from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon in the parking lot behind S&T Bank, at 8th and Church Streets in downtown Indiana.  We are excited to see many familiar farmers and some new vendors, too!

We welcome Laughlin's Garden, the Spades, and Wilds Market this season and are happy to have Nature Works Farm join us as a full-time vendor this year!

Look for a variety of fresh, local items, including asparagus, rhubarb, peas, greens like lettuce and kale, root veggies such as radishes and beets, strawberries, and herbs.  Round out your shopping trip with baked goods, honey, eggs, and locally-raised meats!

We kick off our season of featured products with our veggie of the week:  Swiss Chard

Fun facts:

  • Swiss chard is in the same plant family as beets and spinach
  • Just one cup provides 3 times your daily allowance of vitamin K, which protects your heart, builds bones, and optimizes insulin levels (mercola.com)
  • Swiss Chard was discovered and named in Switzerland but actually originated in Sicily (fullcircle.com)
Try some in our Recipe of the Week - Eggs in a Nest

Wondering when your favorites will be in season?  You can find a chart of popular PA vegetables here.

We also have lots of fun scheduled in our special tents this week:
  • Musician:  Dan Stonerook - Dan is a solo acoustic musician who describes his style as "bearded, acoustic, bluesy, storytellin' music."  He performs a mix of cover songs and original materials.  Dan's album, Ghosts From the Past, was released in January. 
  • Artisan:  Chere Winnek-Shawer - jewelry 
  • Kids:  Yoga with Ed Stancombe of Sunflower Yoga - there are many  physical benefits of yoga for children, including improved self-esteem, concentration, and physical fitness.  Adults are welcome, too!
  • Community:  Council for Educational Travel (CETUSA) - a not-for-profit international student exchange organization coordinating exchange experiences for high school students in Indiana County, with a mission "to encourage a lifelong journey of global peace and understanding."  

Please remember that while we at the Farmers' Market are very fond of pets of all kinds, due to PA Department of Agriculture regulations, no pets are permitted at the market.  If you do bring a pet, please tie them up outside the market area.

Bring the whole family for a morning of fresh, local foods, community, and fun!

See you at the market!

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!