06/26/08 — Farm fresh and ready

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Farm fresh and ready

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 26, 2008 1:45 PM

A form of the farmers' market is returning to the city this summer, officials at the Health Department say.

In recent years, the popular addition where farmers sold their wares downtown has fallen by the wayside. Efforts have been made to revive the event, even on a limited basis.

Karen Padgett, health promotion coordinator at the Health Department, recently spoke to the Board of Health about the need .

"We had a survey last year that showed that the majority of people aren't getting fruits and vegetables that they need," she said.

Re-introducing fresh produce seemed like a worthwhile endeavor.

The Mini Mobile Farmers' Market will set up camp in the parking lot adjacent to the Health Department, at Lionel and Ash streets. The first will be held on Wednesday, July 16, from noon until 5:30 p.m., with four local farmers participating.

"The idea is to catch employees on their break or lunch hour or after work," Mrs. Padgett said.

Of course, she added, it will also be open to clients being served by the Health Department as well as the public.

The bottom line, she said, is to promote healthy eating for all ages.

Among the items expected to be sold at the market are tomatoes, okra, corn, watermelon, cantaloupe, squash, peppers, cucumbers, snap peas, red potatoes and an assortment of organic items, including sweet potato pie, blueberry pie, pecan pie, banana peppers, cayenne peppers, collards, onions and homemade lemonade.

Mrs. Padgett said the goal is to have the market offered at least one Wednesday out of the month. If there is enough community support, it could be expanded to additional days.

The most important aspect, she noted, is the availability of fresh, local produce.

"Local produce is healthier for you than other produce," she explained. "It is grown, harvested and delivered sooner and therefore retains the nutrients so important to a healthy lifestyle."

For more information on the mobile farmers' market, contact Mrs. Padgett at 731-1235.