SEATTLE – This week is National Farmers Market Week, and farmers in Washington want you to try something new.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture started Farmers Market Week 17 years ago to promote fresh fruits and vegetables and highlight the work of farmers across the country.
In Washington, there are about 170 farmers markets spread across 36 of the state’s 39 counties.
Karen Kinney, executive director of the Washington State Farmers Market Association, says it’s the perfect time to visit a market because of the great variety of fresh food that’s currently available.
“We’ve got the tree fruit, we still have berries, all of the crops that are grown in eastern Washington are going strong, corn on the cob, potatoes are coming in. We’ve got all the amazing peppers and tomatoes,” she points out. “It’s just a very vibrant place to be.”
Many farmers markets accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as food stamps. There are also programs such Fresh Bucks, which will match every SNAP dollar with a dollar to spend at the market, up to $10.
According to a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only about 1 in 10 Americans is eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables.
Kinney says people might be turned off by farmers markets because they think they are too expensive or too far away, but she says that isn’t the case, and once families take a trip to the market, they might open their children up to a new healthy snack.
“I’ve seen so many kids find out that they really like a carrot that’s just come out of the ground and hasn’t been transported across country to be at the grocery store or something, or they like the taste of something because they like the farmer who’s selling it,” she states. “They have a relationship with the farmer.”
Go to WAFarmersMarkets.org to find a farmers market near you.
Eric Tegethoff is a journalist covering the Northwest. Eric has worked as a reporter for KBOO, XRAY FM, and Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland, Oregon, as well as other print and digital news media. In 2012, Eric traveled to North Dakota to write about the Bakken region oil boom. He's also worked at a movie theater, as a campaign canvasser and quality assurance at a milk packaging factory. Eric is originally from Orlando, Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida in 2010.