Cel­e­brate our local farm­ers mar­kets

Cecil Whig - - OPINION -

This week is Na­tional Farm­ers Mar­ket Week. We urge ev­ery­one to cel­e­brate Na­tional Farm­ers Mar­ket Week by head­ing to the one of the many farm­ers mar­kets or pro­duce stands in our area.

“Farm­ers Mar­ket Week is a great op­por­tu­nity for Mary­lan­ders to get a taste of fresh, nu­tri­tious food grown right here in the state,” Gov. Larry Ho­gan said in a state­ment. “Buy­ing local is a great way to support our state’s agri­cul­ture in­dus­try and pro­mote sus­tain­abil­ity. I en­cour­age all Mary­lan­ders to cel­e­brate this week with a visit to their local farm­ers mar­ket.”

Ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease from the Mary­land De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture, there is a grow­ing de­mand for local pro­duce at both the state and na­tional level. The U.S. De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture’s Na­tional Farm­ers Mar­ket Direc­tory started with 1,755 listings in 1994, MDA of­fi­cials said. That has re­port­edly grown to 8,500 listings na­tion­wide.

The MDA lists 147 farm­ers mar­kets in the state. Each county has at least one. To search by county or town, go to http://mary­lands­best.net.

In ad­di­tion to the many pro­duce stands across Ce­cil County, there are sev­eral farm­ers mar­kets, in­clud­ing:

which is open noon to 3 p.m. ev­ery Fri­day and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. ev­ery Satur­day through Au­gust on the grounds of Trin­ity Methodist Church on Third Street be­tween Bo­hemia Av­enue and Ge­orge Street. For more info, call 410-920-7018.

which is open 2 to 6 p.m. ev­ery Fri­day through Oc­to­ber at 308 S. Main St. in North East (N.E. United Methodist Church park­ing lot next to North East Post Of­fice). For more info, visit www.face­book.com/ce­cil­countya­gri­cul­ture or call 443-553-3113.

which is open 2 to 6 p.m. ev­ery Thurs­day and Fri­day, and 8 am. to noon ev­ery Satur­day through Oc­to­ber at the cor­ner of Bow and Howard streets.

which is open 3 to 7 p.m. ev­ery Fri­day through Oc­to­ber at the cor­ner of Broad Street and Round­house Drive in Lower Ferry Park down­town Per­ryville.

The MDA is ask­ing pa­trons to pro­mote Mary­land’s farm­ers mar­kets by shar­ing pho­tos on so­cial me­dia us­ing the hash­tags #Farm­er­sMar­ketWeek, #Mar­ketFav and #MDsBest.

“With grow­ing de­mand for fresh, local prod­ucts, Mary­land farm­ers of­fer a va­ri­ety of fresh pro­duce at farm­ers mar­kets across the state,” said MDA Sec­re­tary Joe Barten­felder in a state­ment. “These mar­kets are an im­por­tant source of in­come for our farm fam­i­lies, and pro­vide an im­por­tant link be­tween the state’s ur­ban and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. Buy­ing di­rectly from the farmer gives con­sumers an op­por­tu­nity to learn more about farm­ing and de­velop trust in the in­tegrity and ac­count­abil­ity of our grow­ers.”

The Farm­ers Mar­ket Coali­tion, in pro­mot­ing Na­tional Farm­ers Mar­ket Week, of­fers in­ter­est­ing sta­tis­tics about the pos­i­tive ben­e­fits of local farm­ers mar­kets. Ac­cord­ing to the FMC, the USDA re­ports that pro­duce prices at farm­ers mar­kets are lower, on av­er­age, than at gro­cery stores. The FMC states that prox­im­ity to farm­ers mar­kets is as­so­ci­ated with lower body mass in­dexes. There is no study ci­ta­tion for such a health claim, so take that one with a grain of salt and some nice leafy greens from the farm­ers mar­ket.

An­other blind study ci­ta­tion on the FMC web­site states that shop­pers have more than three times the num­ber of so­cial in­ter­ac­tions at farm­ers mar­kets than they do in gro­cery stores. That is a state­ment we support. Shop­ping at a county farm­ers mar­ket is def­i­nitely a so­cial out­ing, as buy­ers min­gle with neigh­bors and learn about their pro­duce from the grower who planted it.

“As farm­ers mar­kets con­tinue to grow across Amer­ica, they’re also be­com­ing crit­i­cal com­mu­nity as­sets and pub­lic spa­ces that bring fam­i­lies from all back­grounds to­gether to so­cial­ize, pur­chase healthy, af­ford­able food and support their local farmer,” FMC Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor Jenn Cheek said in a state­ment.

We agree, let’s check out our local mar­ket this week­end.

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