The first full week in August is National Farmers Market Week.
To celebrate, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced, at a kick-off event in Washington, D.C., that 8,144 farmers markets are now registered with the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory, an online directory updated by farmers market managers, state departments of agriculture and marketing associations.
How will you celebrate? In case you’re running low on ideas, here’s five ways to celebrate National Farmers Market Week:
- Go digital. Looking for a farmers market in your area? Check out the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory. If you see some great ingredients at a farmers market, but you’re not sure what to do with them, the New York Times has a Farmers Market Recipe Generator. The USDA also has a blog to celebrate National Farmers Market Week.
- Visit a farm. If you’re interested in knowing more about how your food is grown, or where it comes from, visit a local farm. Some farms, like Hastings Dairy in Geauga County, Ohio, offer tours. Taking a farm tour can help you to better understand why and how farmers do what they do!
- Buy something unexpected. There’s much more than fruits and vegetables at farmers markets. Many markets offer things like homemade jellies, jams, pies and other value-added products. If you want to stick with fruits and vegetables, make sure to try some of the heirloom varieties.
- Special events. Farmers markets sometimes host special events. Ask around at your local market to see if your market offers anything special like a jazz day or cooking demonstrations.
- Be a part of the community. It’s more than just buying produce. Farmers markets are a place to have conversations about food, cooking, gardening and anything else that comes to mind. Don’t be afraid to ask farmers questions.