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Lisa Munniksma

We’re now in the final month of regularly scheduled Saturday morning farmers markets.

Your weekly opportunity to gather with friends, shop for local foods and handmade goods, meet the people feeding your family and collect new recipes carries on until Thanksgiving.

And market tables are still full! A few vendors still have tomatoes and peppers, and there is a lot of fall produce to be found, including cooking and salad greens, winter squash, potatoes and sweet potatoes, other root veggies, fresh herbs and more. There’s also beef, pork, lamb, goat, chicken and turkey among the meat vendors; spices and seasonings, honey, preserves, wine, soap, gifts and more.

Next Saturday is Kids Day, sponsored by the Friends of the Franklin County Farmers Market. Everyone under the age of 18 receives $2 in Kid Tokens to shop for fruits and vegetables! Plus, free kids’ activities will be offered by Capital Day School, EF High School Exchange, United Way of Franklin County and the U.S. Census Bureau. The Friends of the Farmers Market is a nonprofit organization that supports the farmers market's activities, and they rely on community business sponsorships and membership from market shoppers.

Anyone can join the Friends of the Market at FranklinCountyFarmersMarket.org or at the Farmers Market WesBanco Welcome Table during regular farmers market hours. Perks include a sturdy canvas tote bag or “I Love Real Food” bumper sticker and membership starts at $10.

Shop with SNAP year-round

It’s true that WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks and Double Dollars vouchers have expired, but SNAP/EBT and SNAP Double Dollars are accepted at the Franklin County Farmers Market year-round! In addition, anyone purchasing food with their SNAP card at the farmers market can have their purchases doubled for free.

It’s pretty easy, really:

  1. Come to the farmers market on Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon. Stop at the WesBanco Welcome Table (the first on the left as you come into the Market Pavilion), and we’ll run your SNAP card, just like you would at a grocery store.
  2. We give you tokens to shop with farmers market vendors for the amount that you want withdrawn from your SNAP account. Let’s say you withdraw $20. These SNAP tokens can be spent on any food items available at the farmers market.
  3. We then double your purchase with Double Dollars, up to $20 per day. If you withdraw $20 from your SNAP account, we give you another $20 in Double Dollars tokens. You can spend $12 from your Double Dollars tokens on fruits and vegetables and $8 on meat, eggs and dairy.

These tokens don’t expire, so you can always shop at the farmers market with them. The Franklin County Farmers Market is able to offer Double Dollars with the support of the Kentucky Double Dollars program, Community Farm Alliance, Friends of the Farmers Market and community supporters.

Plus, customers who shop with SNAP three times at the farmers market get a free “Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day” cookbook, thanks to a donation from farmers market friend MaryLinda.

What we’re eating now

If you’ve been at the farmers market in the past few weeks, you’ve no doubt noticed the tropical-looking foliage and roots at Dandelion Ridge Farm’s and Blackberry Heaven’s tables. That’s baby ginger, and I have to wonder if the people of Frankfort realize how very lucky we are to have this fresh aromatic offered to us! It’s only been within the last decade that ginger has been grown in Central Kentucky — it’s a rhizome native to Asia and typically grown in Hawaii for U.S. markets.

There's no boundary to the dishes that ginger can improve. And if you follow herbal-medicinal practices, you probably already know that ginger is said to be beneficial in treating nausea, motion sickness and arthritis.

With the availability of ginger right now, I’m using it all kinds of ways: boiled in water to make tea, served with honey; making simple syrup for beverages and to top yogurt, which also yields the delicious wonder of homemade candied ginger; and grated into many dishes that I enjoy, including stir fry, curry, salad dressings and pumpkin pie.

Find seasonal recipe inspiration on the farmers market’s Facebook page and at the farmers market itself, where you’ll get free samples and recipes each Saturday.

Lisa Munniksma is the community engagement coordinator for the Franklin County Farmers Market. Contact her at lisa@franklincountyfarmersmarket.org.

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