Press-Republican

June 2, 2013

Open for business

Richard Gast, Cornell Ag Connection
Press-Republican

— For customers, shopping at a farmers market means getting to select from the finest, the freshest and the best local produce and prepared foods that money can buy.

Local farmers markets offer a terrific variety of freshly picked vegetables and fruits. But you can also find top-quality naturally raised meats, herbs, starter plants (purchasing seedlings from a local grower reduces the risk of disease in your garden), homemade baked goods and locally prepared artisan foods of all kinds.

When you shop at your nearby farmers market, you can meet and visit with the growers, ask questions and get closer to the sources of locally grown and prepared wholesome, nutritious food. What’s more, you can be confident and feel good about buying home-grown food from your neighbors. Hey, it’s fun to talk to the folks that grow it. And they’ll appreciate your feedback.

We are living in an age of global markets and, as such, it’s all too easy to see how local towns and communities can lose touch with the efforts and the productivity of area farmers and growers. But, shopping at farmers markets supports local growers and the preservation and productive use of our land and water. What’s more, shopping at farmers markets strengthens our rural economy and the knowledge of our agricultural heritage for future generations. Besides, locally grown and prepared foods tastes better and are more nutritious than fruits and vegetables that are picked before they’re ripe and then transported across the continent or halfway around the world.

Many parts of the world have a tradition of farmers markets going back many centuries. In ancient times, they were the centers of villages and towns, places where people gathered to buy, barter and trade goods and services, and where people met to exchange news and share stories with one another.

Farmers markets have deep roots in our nation’s history, as well. In 1806, Thomas Jefferson wrote about buying beef, eggs and vegetables at an outdoor market. Throughout much of the 19th century, outdoor market places were the heart of our American cities, and the farmers markets were the centers of commerce in rural communities.

As the country grew, however, everything changed. More and better roads were built nationwide, and more modern methods of refrigeration were invented and applied. It became possible to transport produce from large commercial farms to centers hundreds, even thousands of miles away. Wholesalers took advantage of opportunities to place fruit and vegetables produced by large commercial and corporate growers into neighborhood supermarkets owned by even larger corporations. The small farmer soon found himself unable to compete.

But, in recent decades, Farmers markets have been making a comeback. Today, Americans spend billions of dollars annually at the nearly 8,000 farmers markets listed nationwide in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2012 National Farmers Market Directory.

Your local farmers market is a place where people can come together, not just to buy and sell food, but to share gardening tips and ideas, recipes and seasonal information, as well. I’m sure that you will find shopping at local farmers markets to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience where customers get the freshest, highest quality food possible, and the growers makes some money. There are no middlemen and no stockholders, just local, independent growers selling their own produce and homemade food products direct to the public.

Support your local farmers market.

Richard L. Gast, Extension program educator II, Horticulture, Natural Resources, Energy; agriculture programs assistant, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County, 355 West Main St., Suite 150, Malone, 12953. Call 483-7403, FAX 483-6214 or email rlg24@cornell.edu

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Ausable Forks Farmers Market Fridays: 3 to 6 p.m. Behind Holy Name Church, Main St. Open June 28 through Aug. 30 Manager: Ashlee Kleinhammer 645-2697.

Chateaugay Lake Farmers Market Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hollywood Inn Restaurant Lawn, 4939 State Route 374 Open June 22 through Aug. 31 Market Manager: Donnie Jackson 293-7487

Chazy Farmers Market First and Third Sunday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Amazing Grace Vineyard and Winery, 9839 Rte 9. Open July 7 through Sept. 15 Manager: Mary Fortin 215-4044.

Elizabethtown Farmers Market Fridays: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Behind Adirondack Center Museum, 7590 Court St. Open now through Oct. 11 Market Manager: Gina Agoney, 293-7877 Email: mtgagoney89@aol.com

Keene Valley Farmers Market Sundays: 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Rt. 73 at Marcy Airfield Open June 16 through Oct. 13 Market Manager: Dick Crawford, 561-7167

Keeseville Farmers Market Wednesdays: 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Behind the library in the park Open June 19 to Aug. 28 Manager: Dana Pashow, 834-9480 Email: dpashow@gmail.com

Malone Farmers Market Wednesdays: 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Rt.11 at Malone Airport (across from Wal-Mart) Open June 12 through Oct. 16 Market Manager: Vicky Lesniak, 497-0083 Email: burkeplants@gmail.com

Paul Smiths Farmers Market Fridays: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Paul Smith's College VIC, State Route 30 Open June 21 through Sept. 20 Market Manager: Janet Burl, 483-6863

Plattsburgh Farmers and Crafters Market Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Farmers Market Pavilion, Durkee Street parking lot in downtown Plattsburgh Open now through Oct. 12 (Saturdays) Open June 26 through early September (Wednesdays) Market Manager: Pat Parker, 493-6761

Port Henry Farmers Market Wednesdays: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 4623 Main Street Open June 26 to Aug. 28 Manager: Jackie Viestenz, 546-9855 Email:jackieviestenz@yahoo.com

Saranac Lake Farmers Market Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fusion Market; Riverside Park at Route 3 and Main Street Open now through Oct. 1 Market Manager, Lou Lesniak, 497-0083

Saranac Lake Village Farmers Market Saturdays: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saranac Lake Riverside Park June 1 through Oct. 26 Market Manager Ashlee Kleinhammer, 645-2697

Schroon Lake Farmers Market Mondays: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Village parking Lot June 24 to Sept. 2 Market Manager: Ashlee Kleinhammer, 645-2697

Ticonderoga Farmers Market Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Corner of Montcalm and 9N, SW of Moses Circle June 29 through Oct. 12 Market Manager Matthew Courtright, 585-6619

Tupper Lake Farmers Market Thursdays: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wild Center, 45 Museum Drive Market Manager Ellen Beberman, 891-7470 Open Now through Sept. 15 Email: beberman@verizon.net

Willsboro Farmers Market Thursdays: 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Rt. 22 across from the old Mountain View Restaurant Open June 13 to Sept. 5 Market Manager Linda Therrien, 963-4383 Email: franklynnfarms@gmail.com

For information on farmers markets across the North Country, visit www.adirondackharvest.com

For information on farmers markets throughout New York State, visit: www.agmkt.state.ny.us. Click on Farm and Market Search. Click on Farmers Markets.