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Farmers Market Fresh program is coming back!

Submitted by
Sarah Ransom

We all know the farmers’ market is an excellent place for picking up fresh fruits and vegetables. This summer, in addition to picking up some home grown tomatoes, you can pick up some research-based knowledge as well. The University of Tennessee/Tennessee State University Extension in Johnson County will be at the market offering food samples, as well as selection and storage suggestions for the flavorful fruit and vegetables available at the market. This program is called Farmer’s Market Fresh. The market consumers have enjoyed the delicious treats, free information and prize giveaways in the past years. We are excited to be offering this program in the next few weeks.
According to Dr. Christopher Sneed with UT Extension, the primary objective of the Farmers’ Market Fresh program is to encourage purchasing of fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ markets. “We are particularly interested in helping limited-resource families, especially those receiving EBT/ SNAP have access to fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market. We hope our presence at the market along with the food demonstrations, tastings, and activities will encourage people to check out all the market has to offer,” states Sneed.
Throughout the summer, members of the local Extension office will have a booth at the market where they will be offering food demonstrations, recipes, and research-based advice on the best ways to select and store some of our favorite summertime items. The best part of the program – each person who stops by the booth will receive a recipe card for the food being demonstrated that day. At the end of the season, consumers could have an entire collection of recipes all featuring items fresh from the farmers’ market. Recipes to be featured include: summer squash salad, corn salad, fruit and nut slaw, tomato and cucumber sandwiches, peanut butter yogurt dip, quick picked beats and a berry spinach salad that will make you want seconds! “We intentionally picked recipes that would be easy to prepare,” states Dr. Janie Burney of UT Extension. “Summer in Tennessee can be hot. So, we selected recipes that did not involve using the stove or oven. We wanted foods that were cool, refreshing, and delicious.” And, it just so happens they are all really good for you as well.
Grown-ups are not the only ones who will enjoy a stop by the Farmers’ Market Fresh booth. The young ones are sure to enjoy a sample of the food prepared. In addition, they will be able to participate in a weekly children’s challenge. Through the challenge, they are able to earn prizes for the fruits and vegetables their families purchase, prepare, and taste at home. There is even some buzz that a special visitor – Rudy the Raccoon – may make an appearance at the market. To participate, all you need to do is stop by the Farmers’ Market Fresh booth for all the details.
“We are very happy and excited to be part of this program,” states FCS Agent, Sarah Ransom of UT Extension Johnson County, “Partnering with the farmers’ market is just a natural fit for our office given our focus on food preservation, cooking skills, and healthy eating. We can’t wait to get started! We can’t wait to see you there!”
For more information about the Farmers’ Market Fresh program including the exact dates and times the Extension office will be at the market, call the local UT/TSU Extension Johnson County office at 727-8161.
This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more, contact your local Department of Human Services Office or call 1-866-311-4287 (toll-free). In cooperation with Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension. The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Programs in agriculture and natural resources, 4-H youth development, family and consumer sciences, and resource development. University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture and county governments cooperating. UT Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.