From apples to zucchini, farmers market offers it freshBuying and eating locally – the benefits are endless. Not to mention tasty.
By: By Marit Aaseng, Intern Reporter, Alexandria Echo Press
Buying and eating locally – the benefits are endless. Not to mention tasty.
The Alexandria Farmers Market, located in Big Ole Park at Broadway and 2nd Avenue, offers the bounty of growers from the area, fresh and ready to be eaten.
Apples, asparagus, carrots, honey, corn, tomatoes, berries, beets, beans, peppers, flowers, squash and cucumbers are just a few examples of what you can purchase from local growers.
“We sell every type of produce from A to Z,” said Ron Branch, a market manager.
The Alexandria Farmers Market has been in existence for many years, but since the formation of its board of directors in 1999, it has grown into a more successful and structured community asset. Organizers expect 20 to 25 vendors for the 2010 season at the Big Ole Park location.
“The location next to the bike trail is perfect because it reinforces the idea of healthy living and a healthy community, which we stand for,” Branch pointed out.
The advantages of buying and eating locally grown foods are as plentiful as the produce at the market.
Breanna Swanberg, a seller at the market, noted, “Most of the fresh goods will be harvested on Friday – one day before the sale. This means the product will be fresher and retain more vitamins, so buyers will be getting more nutrition out of the food purchased, versus lettuce grown in California that is picked, cleaned packaged and shipped 2,200 miles, and then sold in a store four to seven days later.”
All food at the Farmers Market is produced within a 75-mile radius of Alexandria, and the vendors are the growers. This not only stimulates the local economy, but also gives consumers a deeper connection to their food.
“Today, we are so disconnected from the food source,” Branch said. “Everyone used to have parents or grandparents running the farm. But now people simply buy what they want, when they want at the store, without thinking of where it came from. This market connects a face and a name to the food. It expands horizons.”
The market encourages people of all ages to try new things, eat healthy and come together as a community.
Now there are more opportunities to explore the local food scene. As of June 22nd the market’s summer hours expand to include Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon and Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m., as well as the regular hours of 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.
Anyone interested in becoming involved in the market can contact Ron Branch at email@example.com