Variety - Not Just Veggies - at Boyd Farmers Market

Jennifer Fields

    Now more than ever, consumers are choosing to buy fresh produce at the Farmers Market over a trip to the grocery store. Folks are planning family dinners around what they purchase at the farmers market: admiring, smelling and tasting fruits, veggies, bread and pastries.
    Those in Boyd County are taking notice and participating in the trend that supports their community. Last year, the Boyd County Farmers Market experienced its largest sales, totaling nearly $105,000. And every bit goes back to a farmer.
    Lori Bowling, Boyd County extension service horticulture agent, attributes the success to a younger generation that enjoys cooking at home, eating locally and wanting to be healthy. Fruits and vegetables are available at the peak of the growing season, which means produce is at its freshest and tastes the best. The food is grown locally, not thousands of miles away or in another country. Shopping at farmers markets also keeps money spent on food closer to home.
    “Shoppers at other markets should be mindful,” Bowling said. “Not all farmers markets you come across can stand behind being 100 percent locally grown. That’s what we pride ourselves upon. We have standards and regulations that make sure each farmer has grown the produce. So when you come to the Boyd County Farmers Market, you know you are truly supporting a local farmer.”
    Farmers attend membership meetings, pay fees and are trained in food safety to prevent foodborne illnesses, including listeria, e coli and hepatitis. Farmers are required to have a Hepatitis A vaccine.
    In its fourth year, the market location at Kings Daughter’s Medical Center (KDMC) has proven to be a great addition. New vendors are selling beef, eggs and blueberries, which add variety to its popular vegetables. On some occasions, the once weekly market outsells the two-day market in Cannonsburg. The KDMC market is an ideal location for those who use WIC and senior vouchers. It also encourages a choice of healthy foods.
    “Having the farmers market on campus every week in the summer has helped change our campus,” said Tom Dearing, director of marketing at King’s Daughters. “Every Thursday, we welcome the farmers and the community to campus. Our food services team uses ingredients from the market for dishes served in our Café and as recommended ingredients in recipes they share with our entire team. People are eating healthier, and we're supporting a vital part of the Tri-State with our local farming community.”
    Nutrition and food enthusiast Emily Click, a KDMC attorney, said shopping at the farmers market is a win-win. “I support the local economy and my seven-year-old daughter Avery eats her fruits and veggies,” Click said. “I especially love buying cherry tomatoes for my daughter and a bouquet of flowers. The tomatoes have a better texture and flavor than what I can find at the store. Recently, I purchased Sweet 100s cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, cantaloupe, blueberries, eggplant, hamburger, fresh cut flowers and black walnuts. In doing so, I supported seven different farmers and that makes me feel good.”
    Local farmer Casey Muncy, owner of Mulberry Family Farm, said it’s important to not only sell produce, but to also educate people at the farmers market.
    “I like to know where my food comes from,” said Muncy, who is the Boyd County Farmers Market president. “There appears to be a disconnection from our current food process. Some children don’t know what a cucumber is, but they love pickles. Society seems to be teaching our youth that food prepared in a grocery store is just as good and healthy for us. When folks take a trip to the farmers market, they might purchase an eggplant for the first time, and instead of making regular lasagna that night, they try something different – and without added preservatives.”
    “Eating healthy solves everything,” Casey says. “And you can’t go wrong with purchasing from the Boyd County Farmers Market –everything has been picked that day or the day before. The best part – you’re most likely going to be spending an evening cooking in the kitchen and eating dinner with your family.”

Where to Shop:

    Boyd County Farmers Market, which is a Kentucky Proud market, is available three days a week June through October. Payments accepted include cash, credit, payroll deduction for King’s Daughters employees and WIC.
7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays at Kyova Mall, 10699 U.S. 60 in Cannonsburg. Tents are near Burger King
2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays at its newest location on the campus of King’s Daughters Medical Center near its shuttle parking lot under the tent at 24th Street and Bath Avenue in Ashland.