Farmers Market Week Celebrates the Best of PA Products

August 3, 2010

Markets Offer Fresh, Affordable Foods; Travel Destinations

HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Consumers can find Pennsylvania’s freshest foods at their local farmers market, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said today as the department marked National Farmers Market Week, which runs through Aug. 7.

“Pennsylvania’s agricultural bounty is at the fingertips of consumers thanks to the more than 1,200 farmers markets across the state,” said Redding. “The markets also help consumers build a direct connection with the farmers that produce their food.”

Pennsylvania agriculture products contribute $6.1 billion to the state’s economy and the state ranks third nationally in direct farm-to-consumer sales, the majority of which occur at farmers markets throughout the state.

Last year, farmers and farmers markets accepted more than $4.5 million in Women, Infant and Children, or WIC, and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, or FMNP, vouchers, making fresh food available to thousands of low-income residents and families.

To celebrate Farmers Market Week, Agriculture Department officials will visit markets in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Today, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Doug Kilgore visited Philadelphia’s West Oak Lane Farmers Market to highlight the importance of farmers markets in urban areas. Open on Tuesdays, the outdoor market, located at Ogontz and 72nd avenues, began in 2003 and honors the FMNP vouchers.

“Farmers markets are a great way to showcase agriculture across the state, especially in the cities, while ensuring all citizens have access to fresh, local food,” said Kilgore.

New this year, the market expanded to include produce for sale from Foundations Inc.’s “Seeds for Learning” initiative, an afterschool urban farm and entrepreneurship program based at the nearby Martin Luther King High School.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Mike Pechart will tour the Farmers Market Cooperative of East Liberty in Pittsburgh at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7. Owned by four agricultural businesses from Western Pennsylvania, the co-op is led by president James Kennedy of Butler County whose grandfather started going to the market in the 1920′s and helped form the co-op in 1941. Kennedy’s son, John, and daughter-in-law, Valerie, are the family’s fourth generation to operate the market.

The three other owner farms are Greenawalt Farm from Westmoreland County, Kistaco Farm of Armstrong County, and Zang’s Greenhouse in Butler County.

One city block long, the former horse stable turned market is open year-round on Saturdays from 5 a.m. to noon, honoring the FMNP vouchers. The Kennedys operate a meat case providing locally-grown and processed beef, pork, lamb and poultry. In addition to the four owners, at least five other vendors offer fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, dairy products, baked goods, teas and nursery plants. Market clients include restaurant chefs and local urban residents.

Consumers can find local farm markets using the Pennsylvania Farm Market Guide, which lists markets by county and provides the name, location, dates and hours of operation, types of food sold, and contact information for each entry. The guide also notes farm markets participating in the FMNP.

To find a local farmers market, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and search “Farm Markets.” For more information on farmers markets or to request a guide, contact Kathy Cutman at 717-783-9948 or kcutman@state.pa.us.

Media contact: Jean Kummer, 717-787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Source: newswire

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