MADISONVILLE, Ky. (7/18/13) – An appreciation day is planned to help recognize the contributions made by local farmers.
On July 31, the Hopkins County Extension Service is hosting the Farmers' Market Appreciation Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. inside the Ballard Convention Center at 605 E. Arch St., Madisonville.
While the event will feature fun activities, the recognition and awareness about the importance of family-owned farmers' markets goes beyond convenience, according to Andy Rideout, horticulturalist for the extension service.
"When you buy a tomato at a large chain store, you are mostly buying 'breakers,'" said Rideout. "Because of the shipping time, those are picked when they're just coming out of the green stage. The taste and the nutrition are not nearly as complete as those grown and sold locally at a farmer's market."
Rideout said the farmers' markets organization has been located in Hopkins County for more than two decades and the extension service has partnered with them through the years. He serves as a coordinator for the group.
"We handle some of the marketing issues," he said. "We also apply for grants to help with costs of promoting farmers' markets."
The Farmers' Market Pavilion on Arch Street is an example of how the extension service has helped promote the venture. A concrete pad for the roofed pavilion is planned if a recent $25,000 grant application is approved, said Rideout.
Standards are also set for vendors of the group as a part of Kentucky Proud produce.
"All of our vendors are (Good Agricultural Practices) trained," said Rideout. "In the past 10 years, there have been some concerns about salmonella outbreaks with produce coming from out of state. Some of those type things are moderated by buying local. Our local market requires our vendors to carry first liability insurance."
The local group has 14 vendors, which vary depending on the seasonal vegetables or fruits ready for consumption.
Activities for the Farmers' Market Appreciation Day include door prizes and give-aways, music by Ray Ligon, balloon art by national balloon tying champ Daniel Herron of Henderson County. The event is free and open to the public.
Rita Dukes Smith
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