This week at the Ottawa County Farmers Market is “School Employee Appreciation Day”.

Let’s face it, we all could stand to eat more fruits and vegetables. Today’s fast-paced lifestyle and two parent working households means that most of us eat our fair share of convenient, processed foods, while missing out on nutrient-rich produce. Study after study shows that quality diets, those that include the recommended amount of daily fruits and vegetables, are associated with better health for all and better academic performance in our children.

Some of the barriers to getting more fresh produce into our diets include lack of time, cost, lack of access to produce, and lack of knowledge on how to prepare fresh produce. Visiting farmers markets is a great choice because they make shopping for produce quick and fun, most items at farmers markets are comparable in price to grocery stores, many markets accept food stamps and match food stamp purchases with free fruits and vegetables, markets often have free recipes, food tastings, and cooking demos to help you familiarize yourself with different produce, and the staff and vendors at farmers markets are a wealth of knowledge in how to prep and cook the produce you will find at markets. Markets also have activities and events that include children in hopes of encouraging them to eat more fruits and vegetables. Your hometown farmers market offers all of these benefits. If you haven’t yet visited, now is the time.

This week at the Ottawa County Farmers Market is “School Employee Appreciation Day”. Anyone who works for a school can show us their school I.D. and they will receive Market Cash that can be used to get free fruits, veggies, and herbs at the market. Our veggie of the week is eggplant, which is plentiful at the market right now. We will be making and sampling a roasted eggplant dip. The kids will be able to make egg carton masks. We will have live music from Miami’s Aaron Anderson. Because we were rained out last week, we are extending our Veggie Victors Kid’s Club for another week, so this Thursday will be the last chance for you to sign up your child. The Veggie Victors Kid’s Club is made possible by a Community Grant from The United Fresh Start Foundation. It allows the farmers market to reward kids for learning about and trying a veggie each week with a fun toy while providing Market Cash to parents so they can bring home those fresh veggies for the whole family.

Join us every Thursday from 4-7 p.m. until October at All Saints Episcopal Church, located at 225 B St NW in downtown Miami. Use your credit or debit card, your SNAP (food stamp) card, or your 2018 Senior Farmers Market Nutrition program card. Stop by the information table to get info on our Double Up Oklahoma Program that matches SNAP purchases, up to $20 each week, in free produce. Volunteer at the market and receive Market Cash in return, ask us how at the information table.