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May 25, 2013

Farmers markets are in full bloom

Guest Commentary By Denise A. Timms
The Daily Star

---- — It’s hard to believe that just a few short months ago the thermometer on our farm was reading 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then, it was time to “ooh” and “aah” at the pictures of fruits and veggies, and the new and improved varieties of both tucked in the pages of the many seed catalogs that grace our mailbox.

It was time to plan the garden, and on our farm time to order the first round of chicks and poults, and eagerly await the birth of the new lambs.

Now, the grass is green and growing, many garden items are planted and growing, and our lambs were all born during that nice week in early April. Even our chicks have been out on pasture for a few weeks already.

As a vendor and board member of the Morris Farmers’ Market, my thoughts turn to the market season. Before you know it, Farmers’ Markets all over the state will be in full swing.

Morris Farmers’ Market has been fortunate enough to attract the best products in our area. We are now in our sixth year, and still nestled in behind the Morris Firehouse. We boast local maple syrup, honey, artisan cheeses, poultry, eggs, lamb, pork, beef, local flour, and porridge, an exciting array of produce in season, salsa, baked goods and handcrafted soaps. It’s just about a one-stop shopping trip! To round it out, there are handmade items available such as cutting boards, steeping stones, crocheted items, wool art and yarn.

If you’ve never been to a farmers market, do yourself a favor and visit one. Any good Farmers’ Market will have an abundance of fresh seasonal produce available. In the spring, greens, radishes, lettuce and scallions will be some of the produce offered. Summer’s offerings: tomatoes, peppers, beets, melons and onions are just a few of the items that are sure to tempt your taste buds.

Whoa! I almost forgot the garlic and sweet corn! Fall staples like pumpkins, squash, gourds, carrots and greens are also plentiful.

Meat, poultry, maple syrup, cheese, baked goods, handmade items and handcrafted soaps are available all season. And, by the way, Morris Farmers’ Market is planning a contest to see who can grow the biggest pumpkin! All are invited to participate. Stop by the market for details.

Why a Farmers’ Market you ask? Well, there are many advantages to shopping at Farmers’ Markets. As a consumer, you are taking home the freshest produce available, short of growing it yourself. The produce at Morris Farmers’ Market is grown locally, picked the day of the market, and transported a short distance — not a thousand miles over a couple of days in cold storage. It is also allowed to ripen naturally — not artificially — so the flavor is amazing! You get more bang for your buck as the produce will last much longer from the Farmers’ Market with its’ nutritional intact.

If meat is what you’re after, and how it’s grown is of concern to you (which I hope it is), the Farmers’ Market offers you the opportunity to speak with the farmers that raise it. You can ask me those questions as well as any other meat vendor/farmer at the market. Some of us even have recipes available, free for the taking!

By shopping locally (become a Localvore!) at Farmers’ Markets, you have the opportunity to ask the folks that grow your food questions, help support family farms and help keep money in your community. Most importantly, you get to “know your farmer”.

Morris Farmers Market will open for the 2013 season Thursday, May 30, and continue each Thursday through Oct. 10. We are behind the Morris Firehouse and we are open from 3 to 6 p.m.

For information on becoming a qualified vendor, contact Paul Tourtellotte at pajtourtellotte@clink.net.

Come see what we have for you!

Denise Timms, of Coyote Creek Farm, is a Brookfield resident.