The Ottawa County Farmers Market hosts its second annual Red, White & Blue Night this week with a patriotic-themed kids craft and food tasting.

Did you know that many of our country’s founding fathers were farmers? Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and George Washington had farms of their own and held very high opinions on the importance of agriculture to our new society. Many believe that it was the experience they had with the adversity of farming that helped them shape the laws of checks and balances and problem solve the complex issues they would face as they "cultivated" the young republic.

While the practice of agriculture has evolved in the 240 years since the founding fathers put pen to paper, it is still an important part of our way of life. The development of technology during the 20th century, saw a switch from small rural farms to large, specialized farms providing the bulk of our food. Before the 20th century, half of our population lived on farms and were familiar with the practice of food production. Today, less than 2% of land in the U.S. is used for farming, according to the USDA. To get back to the past of agriculture, when life was simpler and you knew how your food was grown, you only need to visit a farmers market!

This week at the Ottawa County Farmers Market, we celebrate our country’s independence with the second annual Red, White & Blue Night! Join us for a patriotic-themed kids craft and food tasting. Pick up a free produce storage fridge magnet. Enter for your chance to win a fireworks package giveaway. Wear red, white, AND blue to the market and get Market Cash to use for free fruits and vegetables. Take a picture in our patriotic photo booth. Learn about the health benefits of red, white, and blue produce. The Veggie Victors Kid’s Club will be learning about bell peppers this week to win prizes and Market Cash. Local musician “Piano Annie" Walser returns to provide live music.

Summer is in full swing and that means we will be welcoming more tomatoes, including tasty heirloom varieties like Cherokee Purple and chocolate cherry tomatoes. Cucumbers and squash will be plentiful. Sweet bell peppers, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, assorted greens, herbs, peas, green beans, and potatoes can also be found. Blackberries are here, so get them while they last. Payne’s Happy Harvest will have fresh eggs for $3 a dozen, Ramers will have home-baked pies, cinnamon rolls, breads, and more. Four States Honey has the best-tasting local honey around, and JM Farms returns with locally-grown mushrooms. Cool off with a shaved ice from Frozen Cabana while you shop.

Use your cash, credit, EBT, and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Benefits at the market. Stop by the information table and ask us how to “SNAP & Match” up to $20 in EBT purchases each week at the market. Join us every Thursday from 4-7 p.m. now until October under the pavilion at 225 B St (All Saints Episcopal Church) in downtown Miami. We have shaded seating, handicapped parking, water & restrooms for your convenience.