Posted by: houwr | 08/01/2012

Get Fresh! Shopping at your Local Farmer’s Market – ready

Librarian Mark with the Chick-Fil-A cow at the back-to-school bash, 2012

Last weekend, the Nola Brantley Memorial Library had the opportunity to attend the back-to-school bash near the Warner Robins High School. While there, we saw many familiar faces, including some of our most faithful library patrons, community partners, and – can’t forget this one – the Chick-Fil-A cow! Coming down from the high of meeting such an important mascot, we walked further down the vendor’s tables and eventually stumbled upon the International City Farmer’s Market stand.  I myself have never visited the market (planning to go for the first time this week!), but after speaking with market organizer Jodi Daley, I learned that they are about much more than just “eating more chicken.”

Ms. Daley shared with us that the types of foods usually featured at the market are seasonal produce, baked goods, meat (specifically pork), raw milk, cheeses, and some crop-related goodies. She says that the market really makes a difference in the Warner Robins community since it “supports our growers by helping them stay local” and in good business.  Another way it has been impactful is through its partnership with the SNAP program. Ms. Daley states that those receiving food stamps are able to use them at the local farmer’s market in a significant way: “we are a WWG partner market, and that makes for a huge community impact!” Through the WWG – or Wholesome Wave Georgia – program, every nutrition benefit dollar spent becomes two dollars for the shopper and for the farmer. This means more money for our farmers and that more of our community members have access to good, wholesome, and locally grown food. Now that’s what I call a HUGE impact!!

So, you’re probably wondering: how does this have anything to do with the library? Well, let me tell you – we have lots of books on cooking fresh and eating clean! The first one that comes to mind is (of course) Southern Living’s Farmers Market Cookbook: A Fresh Look at Local Flavor. This book arranges recipes according to season, and gives tips on how to make the most of the bountiful fresh ingredients found at your local markets.  The Nola Brantley Memorial Library also owns such titles as Garden Fresh Meals, Fresh from the Garden, and The Baby & Toddler Cookbook for fresh baby food ideas.

If you are interested in selling at the International City Farmer’s Market, Ms. Daley says that you must either be a grower or selling home-made products. Basically, nothing sold at the market is for wholesale.  The market takes place every Thursday from 3-7 PM on the corner of Maple St. and Watson Blvd. in Warner Robins. For any additional information, feel free to visit the market’s Facebook page.

So, let’s hear it – what are your favorite items to purchase at your local farmer’s market?

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