By: Jana Jones
Thanks to The Garden Barn, Tri-State Growers, R&D Campground and a grant from the Johnson County Community Fund, the Johnson County Farmers Market (JCFM) has been able to offer first time EBT customers an additional incentive to come and experience our market. Throughout the month of August, in addition to offering the Fre$h Savings program which doubles the money spent from the EBT card for fresh fruits and vegetables, first time visitors were offered a mini-garden planter box complete with potting soil and seeds of their choice.
We have decided to extend this promotion for two more weeks. It is not too late to plant a fall garden of lettuce, kale, radishes, or parsley. So, through September 9th, the first three EBT customers who have never been to the market before can ask for the planter box gift.
One of the specials offered this week is 93 percent lean pasture raised ground beef for $4.98/lb. from Old Beech Mt. Farms. We often have specials on our grass fed beef at the JCFM. If you have never tasted the grass fed difference, I invite you to come on by and give it a try.
Why would locally grown grass ground fed beef taste any difference than commercial ground beef, you may ask? Good question. According to an ABC news report in March of 2012, former USDA scientists and now whistleblowers, Gerald Zirnstein and Carl Custer, coined the term “pink slime”, which they say is added to 70 percent of commercial ground beef. According to the report, “the pink slime” is made by gathering waste trimmings, simmering them at low heat so the fat separates easily from the muscle, and spinning the trimmings using a centrifuge to complete the separation. Next, the mixture is sent through pipes where it is sprayed with ammonia gas to kill bacteria. The process is completed by packaging the meat into bricks. Then, it is frozen and shipped to grocery stores and meat packers, where it is added to most ground beef. According to the report, the “pink slime” does not have to appear on the label because, over objections of its own scientists, USDA officials with links to the beef industry labeled it meat.
I happen to be one of those people who like to know exactly what I am eating. That is one of the many benefits of buying as local as possible from your neighbors who grow and raise the food, can and preserve the food, or bake and prepare the food. There will be no “pink slime” or MSG or other chemical preservatives that do not have to be specifically listed on the label according to the FDA.
This Saturday we will have the first mums of the season, along with the first spaghetti squash, kabocha and butternut squash! The Johnson County Farmers Market is located at the county courthouse parking lot in downtown Mountain City. We invite all out to enjoy the live music, kid’s events, homegrown foods, and handmade crafts offered by our vendors each Saturday morning from nine to 12.