Fresh for all at Farmers Markets
Farmers Markets have long been a part of rural communities as a way to allow farmers to interact with the surrounding community, as well as help these rural areas to grow.
“Farmers Markets are an important part of strong local and regional food systems that connect farmers with new customers and grow rural economies. In many areas, they are also expanding access to fresh, healthy food for people of all income levels,” Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack said during National Farmers Market Week, which was August 7-13.
Additionally, Elanor Starmer, the Administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) said, “Farmers markets are a gathering place where you can buy locally produced food, and at the same time, get to know the farmer and story behind the food you purchase. These types of markets improve earning potential for farmers and ranchers, building stronger community ties and access to local foods.”
The Farmers Market in Rugby is an opportunity for farmers, growers, bakers and more to meet with and sell to the surrounding community, get to know their neighbors, and share with them their stories and their food.
At the Farmers Market yesterday, a total of 11 booths were available to shop from. Foods included fresh fruits, vegetables, desserts, bread and more. Stands were full of freshly grown items such as onions, tomatoes, potatoes, melons, squash, corn, peppers, beans, and carrots.
Mike and Alecia Pretzer are two regulars at the market, selling freshly baked bread and sweet treats. They specialize in homemade yeast bread and pizza crust. “There aren’t a lot of bakers around, and it’s just fun to see people’s face light up when they get their bread,” Alecia said.
The Pretzers first got into baking bread when Alecia discovered she possessed an allergy to corn and could not eat store-bought breads. From there, the pair found a recipe they liked. Both having baking backgrounds, they decided to venture into more recipes and share with others.
Karen Christenson and her grandson, Bryceton, also sell at the market. Their booth included items such as zucchini bread, pail pickles, beets, green peppers, cabbage, tomatoes, onions, chocolate chip cookies and apple pie. “I retired this spring, and I have always wanted to do this with the grandkids,” Christenson said. “It’s their money maker for the summer, and I do make them help.” Christenson then gives out recipe tips to a family looking at her for-sale cabbage, saying that kids love cabbage rolls.
Another couple that sells at the market regularly, Gerald and Betty Kramer, said that they specialize mostly in tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and onions. “We do your total garden variety,” Betty said. “We love to be busy and we love to garden. This is a real passion for my husband, and at our age, it keeps us busy.”
The farmers market gives people a chance to meet and mingle with others and find some great, locally sourced food in the process. “It’s the friends you make and the people you meet that make it so special,” Betty said.
According the USDA, it has invested close to $1 billion in 40,000 local food businesses and infrastructure projects over the course of the Obama Administration. Eating and buying locally sourced foods has become more and more popular and common in recent years, especially in rural areas where farming is a main way of life.
“Farmers markets provide consumers with fresh, affordable, convenient, and healthy products from local producers,” according to the USDA.
The Rugby Farmers Market is held every Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. and every Saturday at 8 a.m. at the junction of Hwy 2 &3. The Market runs July through October.
(Information sourced from usda.gov News Release)
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