More people are seeking out healthier, fresher and safer food options. There are three main reasons consumers are pur-chasing more fresh vegetables from farmers’ markets. One is the aspect of food safety, especially in light of all of the vegetable-related health scares in the past year throughout the country. Second, there is the freshness issue; the length of time from the field to your table is greatly reduced. Third, people want to “put a face with their food” and develop a trust relationship with their vendor.
The Madison County Farmers’ Market is the solution to all three concerns.
You can be assured of purchasing products that are 100 percent Madison County-grown or produced at this market. Each produce vendor will be able to tell you where the vegetables were planted, when, any insecticides, if any, that were used plus provide recipes.
The London Farmers’ Market features 100 percent Madison County-grown or produced products. Local producers are pleased to display their crafts, baked goods, bedding plants, cut flowers, candy, quilts, furniture and a large assortment of food items.
Many people would rather buy their produce from local vendors because they know that family farmers are caring more for the land and providing a healthier, safer product. It is important to them to know the people who are growing their food. Most fruits and vegetables taste better when they are harvested and consumed when they are ripe and fresh.
Again this year, the London Farmers’ Market will be participating in the Ohio Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP). Representatives from the Ohio Department of Aging and the U.S. Department of Agriculture attended the April meeting of the Madison County Producers Association to explain the Ohio Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. This program helps older Ohioans enjoy locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs.
You are eligible for this program if you are 60 years of age or older and have an annual income of $19,240 or less as a single person ($25,900 or less for a household of two.) Sites are being coordinated with the Madison County Food Pantry and the opening day of the Farmers’ Market. These sites will be announced as soon as the dates have been confirmed. At that time applications will be accepted and coupons will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, while funds are available. Participants will receive ten $5 coupons that will be valid at the farmers’ market in London from June through October.
How does this program work? Coupons can be redeemed only for fresh produce and herbs in their natural state. Coupons may not be used to buy produce from a wholesaler or non-local farmer.
Once the London Farmers’ Market opens for the season, the hours will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday at 300 Lafayette St. in London (next to Carter Lumber). Because all of the products sold at the Madison County Farmers’ Market must be grown in Madison County and the weather this year has been so wet, no date has been set for the grand opening of the market. Watch for individual vendors at this location to be selling, as their products are market ready.
Do you have an over-abundance of gar-den vegetables? Our organization is open to any Madison County resident. You can join us for one week ($10) or for the full growing season ($50). For more informa-tion on participating in the local Farmers’ Market, contact Ron Shoaf at 740-874-3254 or Ralph Lininger at 740-852-0652.
For more information on the Ohio Se-nior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program contact Jennifer Fralic, Life Care Alliance, co-coordinator, SFMNP, at 614-278-3130.