A Community Supper, petting zoo, kid's crafts, Head Start information, and live music will all be a part of "Family Night at the Market" this Thursday, July 13 at the Ottawa County Farmers Market in Miami.

One of the missions of the Ottawa County Farmers Market is to be a place where the community can gather together for fellowship, local food, and healthy lifestyle education. One way to achieve this is through our monthly Community Suppers. Our next supper is Thursday, July 13 from 4-7 p.m. during "Family Night at the Market."

Each Community Supper provides a kid-friendly, healthy entree, side, and a drink. The supper is free for anyone who is 18 years of age or younger and 55 or older and costs just $2 per person for everyone in between. This month, the supper will feature chicken tacos, a cabbage pico de gallo, summer fruit crumble, and a drink. Whenever possible, we utilize the fresh produce available to us from our market vendors. The locally-grown produce used this week will include bell peppers, yellow and red onions, tomatoes, cabbage, cilantro, blackberries, and peaches. The supper will be held inside All Saints Episcopal Church’s fellowship hall.

Several studies have shown that children who are exposed to fruits and vegetables and nutrition education have higher intake of produce and lower rates of obesity. Childhood is the opportune time to build healthy eating habits. The farmers market is a great way to not only expose your children to produce, but also to help them learn about how that produce is grown and harvested, ways to prepare produce, and how it tastes. Repeated exposure is key!According to the Ellen Satter Institute, children need to be exposed to new foods 15-20 times before they may learn to eat it. The Community Supper offers parents a chance to expose their children to new foods without having to spend a lot of money.

The Supper is also a great resource for local seniors. We know that many of the elders in our community have little access, limited funds, and/or an inability to prepare healthy foods. Changes in taste, smell, and digestion also make it harder to maintain our nutritional status as we grow older. Diets high in fruits and vegetables have a positive impact on our physical and mental capacities as we age.

Other activities during our “Family Night at the Market” will include a free petting zoo. The Houghs from Pryor, OK will be bringing friendly farm animals to this week’s market. Fun kid's crafts will be supplied by the Ottawa Tribe and games will be provided by TSET Healthy Living Program of Ottawa County staff. We will also have live music from David Loving of Miami. And, the Head Start program will be providing information about their services for the upcoming school year!

Expect a hype variety of produce this week, including tomatoes, corn, peaches, and blackberries. We will have local baked goods, honey, pecans, shaved ice, bath products, jewelry, and paper/wood crafts. We have handicapped parking and restrooms available. The market runs every Thursday from 4-7 p.m. May-October under the outdoor pavilion at 225 B St NW in downtown Miami.