This week at the Ottawa County Farmers Market the Community Garden will provide info on using fresh herbs and will be giving away fresh berry basil popsicles. Bring the kids to the market to make “sprout houses.”

Ever since hunter/gatherers settled down and started growing crops, the farmers market has been in existence. Over 5,000 years ago in Egypt, farmers along the fertile Nile River basin would gather together to sell their produce. Historically, farmers markets were the grocery stores of their time. The first organized farmers market in the United States was in 1634 in Boston, MA. The 1700’s and 1800’s saw the advent of the trading post and a shift towards people selling other’s goods rather than their own. General stores, and then grocery stores, contributed to the continued gap between producer and consumer. Now, things have come full circle and people want to shop local and yearn to purchase goods from the producer again. In 1994 there were 1,755 farmers markets in the US. That number increased to 8,144 markets by 2013 and continues to grow today thanks, in part, to governmental programs that allow SNAP benefits to be used at farmers markets, SNAP matching programs, and Farm-to-School programs.

The Ottawa County Farmers Market started in 2016 and is a state-recognized non-profit organization. The market was organized with the help of community partners like POCI (Partners of Ottawa County, Inc.), the Chamber of Commerce, OSU extension, NEO Agricultural Department, the Community Garden, the Ottawa County Health Department, and Northeastern Tribal Health System. We are supported by federal, state, and community grants, as well as donations from individuals and community partners. We are a “producer-only” market, which means that products sold at the market are produced by the vendors and are not purchased and resold in most cases. Market staff visits each vendor yearly to verify the “producer-only” claim. All vendors are required to live within a 75-mile radius of the farmers market to ensure products remain local.

This week at the farmers market we will have the best produce the summer has to offer. Vendors will have a large variety of tomatoes, including cherry, heirloom, certified organic, and chemical free choices. Blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries are still available. Sweet corn, okra, and peaches are starting to make their appearance at the market. Enjoy other favorites like green beans, cucumbers, summer squash, eggplant, peppers, carrots, assorted greens, onion, garlic, and so much more. Get your homemade baked goods, honey, pecans, jams, jellies, fruit wine, eggs, pork, and beef. Purchase handcrafted jewelry, art, and bath products.

Live country/rock music will be performed by Ruben Riley from Tiff City, MO. The Community Garden will be at the market to provide info on using fresh herbs and will be giving away fresh berry basil popsicles. Bring the kids to the market to make “sprout houses”. Use your credit, debit, or SNAP card at the market each week. SNAP purchases are matched up to $20 every market so stop by the info table for more details before you shop. We are open every Thursday from 4-7pm and located at 225 B St NW (All Saints Episcopal Church).