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It’s summertime, and that means warm weather, no school, and farmers’ markets. The USDA Farmers’ Market Directory identifies 8,687 farmers’ markets in America. This number has doubled in the last 20 years. Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared August 5 through 11 as National Farmers’ Market Week. This week is a great opportunity to show how much value neighborhood markets bring to their communities.

Why shop at a Farmers’ Markets?

Farmers’ Markets stimulate economies by creating more local jobs and eliminating the “middle man.” Every minute, the U.S. loses an acre of farmland to development – farmers’ markets preserve rural livelihood and farmland. They also increase access to fresh food, and support healthy, social interactions between customers and farmers. Community members can learn more about where their food is coming from and the farmers who are growing it.

Saving money is another benefit of farmers’ markets. Because farmers can directly sell their product to the consumer, prices are often lower than most grocery stores. Many farmers’ markets also accept EBT/SNAP benefits (food stamps) for fresh produce, increasing availability of fresh food for low-income families.

Fresh produce from Bluegrass Farmers’ Market (photo by Austin Johnson/ Hamburg Journal)

What can I buy at a Farmers’ Market?

Farmers’ Markets offer fresh, locally grown products. They collectively offer fresh produce, beef, herbs, bakery goods, cheese, jellies and jams, salsa, and barbecue sauces – even locally produced soaps and lotions.

In season produce includes but is not limited to: apples, beets, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, bell peppers, carrots, melon, corn, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, peaches, summer squash and zucchini, tomatoes and more.

Where are Farmers’ Markets in Hamburg?

The Bluegrass Farmers’ Market runs through October at the Hamburg Liquor Barn parking lot, 1837 Plaudit Place. All vendors are Kentucky Proud. Kentucky Proud foods are raised, grown, or processed in Kentucky by Kentuckians. The market is open on Tuesdays from 2 to 6 pm and Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm.

The Bluegrass Farmers’ Market also provides a boost to Seniors and WIC benefit recipients through a Double Dollars program. Seniors or WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers can be secured through the County office where supplemental assistance programs are administered. Vouchers are given based on need in $4 increments. By showing two Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers, an individual can receive an additional $8 for fresh produce purchases. This program is a partnership between Community Farm Alliance and Bluegrass Farm to Table.

There are several other farmers’ markets around Lexington in different areas and times for your convenience. Go out and enjoy the weather, grab some fresh food, and support your local farmers for National Farmers’ Market Week.

 

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