Farmers Market offers chance to get to know your food

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ask most kids where their food comes from, and they're likely to offer a couple of answers.

"The refrigerator."

or, if they're a little more observant:

"The store."

Even kids whose parents are directly involved in agriculture may have no better idea than their city cousins, since their parents likely purchase their food retail like everyone else.

Summertime is a good time to help rectify the situation by taking children out to the garden to show them tomatoes ripening on the vine or lettuce sprouting from the ground.

Americans are blessed to have a plentiful, relatively cheap supply of nearly every type of food one could imagine.

While mass production techniques do help keep the cost relatively low, variations in the cost of the diesel fuel it takes to deliver it can quickly make themselves apparent at the grocery store.

Environmentally conscious consumers worry about that, as well as not knowing exactly where the food comes from, under what conditions it was grown or produced, what chemicals it might have been exposed to.

McCook, like many other communities, offers an alternative, in a small way, through its seasonal Farmers Market, open each Saturday in the Sears parking lot at Westview Plaza.

Venders usually start setting up at 7:30 a.m., and stay as long as their produce, or ability to withstand the heat, hold out.

Shoppers have a chance to find out, directly from the people who grew or produced the food, exactly what they are serving to their families.

There's also time to catch up with old friends and meet new ones as you browse through the day's offerings, which change from week to week.

If you're 60 or older and meet income requirements, you can even use coupons from the Farmers Market Nutrition Program to purchase food.

Individuals whose household gross income does not exceed $20,655, or two-person household's gross income does not exceed $27,997 are eligible.

Applicants may be asked to provide documentation showing age and income eligibility, and the coupons must be spent by Oct. 31, 2013. More information on that program is available from Sue Chipman at the Heritage Senior Center, (308) 345-1760.

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