Monday, October 22, 2012

Farmer’s Market in the Fall

     When you think of a farmer’s market the picture that usually comes to mind is summer time with its yummy and popular fruits like strawberries and blueberries. However, many are fortunate enough to have a farmer’s market that provides fresh produce into the fall season! Pumpkins, potatoes, kale, green peppers and apples are just a few of fall’s delicious offerings.

     A fall farmers' market isn’t your run of the mill grocery store. All of the produce available is handpicked locally, and in most cases you can meet the farmer right there. This provides a direct connection between the consumer and the person who has grown the food. This allows consumers to ask questions about the produce they are bringing home to their families.

     Frederick County Master Gardener Lee Royer said, “The best part about a farmer’s market is you get to meet the person who grew the food. You can go every week and get on a first name basis with the farmers and even become friends. Some may even invite you to their farms where you can actually see their process for growing and handling their product.”

     At a grocery store, it is easy to forget what fruits and veggies are in season since nearly everything is available year round- thanks to freezers, preservatives and out-sourcing to more tropical regions. At a fall farmers market, however, shoppers have a selection of produce that was ripe on the vine yesterday and is only locally available in the fall months.

     Here at Meritus Medical Center, we have a strong appreciation for local, homegrown food. This is why our executive chef, Joe Fleischman, developed the idea for the market as he was working with several local farmers to offer more local produce to hospital patients and in the hospital’s cafeteria. He said the market was a win-win because it was an opportunity to support the local economy while providing a convenient way for staff and community members to buy fresh produce.

     Every week, you can find fresh, local produce, meats and cheese in the Robinwood Professional Center Atrium, where a farmers’ market is held every Tuesday from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. We hope to see you there!

By: Sarah Koons

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