Lisa Munniksma.jpg

Lisa Munniksma

This Saturday at the Franklin County Farmers Market, Angela Caporelli, from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, helps us celebrate fall with free chef demonstrations highlighting this season’s veggies. From 9 a.m. to noon, she’ll offer samples and new ways to incorporate fall produce into meals.

Next Saturday, I am excited that the farmers market is hosting the music of HeartBEATS, a group of youth hip hop artists based at The Kings Center. From 9 a.m. to noon, farmers market visitors will get to hear the recordings that have come from these young folks’ hard work, can talk with HeartBEATS organizers, and maybe will get to meet some of the youth artists themselves.

HeartBEATS emphasizes positive mentorship with local professional musicians, DJs and producers; provides young people with the tools to express their emotions and experiences through music; fosters collaboration among peers; and enhances confidence through creative mastery.

At the farmers market right now, you’ll find the end of summer vegetables, like tomatoes and peppers, and lots of fall produce, including apples, greens, winter squash and root veggies. Also, two farmers are selling baby ginger — a taste experience you have to have if you’re accustomed to the large, paper-skinned ginger we find in the grocery store. There’s also beef, pork, lamb, spices, honey, preserves, wine, soap and body care, gifts and more.

The Franklin County Farmers Market is in the Market Pavilion at River View Park on Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon, though Nov. 23. Shop with debit, credit, and SNAP/EBT; Food Pantry Fresh Food Vouchers; Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks; and WIC and Senior Double Dollars. Customers shopping with SNAP/EBT and Senior Farmers Market checks can have their purchases doubled for free at the Farmers Market WesBanco Welcome Table, thanks to the Kentucky Double Dollars program, Community Farm Alliance, Friends of the Farmers Market, and community supporters!

Senior Farmers Market checks expiring

At the end of this month, Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks and WIC and Senior Double Dollars vouchers will expire. There are just two farmers markets left to spend these! Farmers market vendors are not able to accept Senior Farmers Market checks, WIC Double Dollars or Senior Double Dollars after the Oct. 26 market. SNAP and SNAP Double Dollars are accepted year-round.

Fun with the Friends of the Farmers Market

The Friends of the Franklin County Farmers Market’s Fall Fun at West Sixth Farm is happening next Thursday, Oct. 24. Beginning at 5 p.m., the evening features kids' and adults' costume contests, trivia, a bonfire, story telling and face painting. Forage Food Truck is sourcing ingredients from our farmers for that evening’s dinner, too. There’s a $5 entry for the costume contest and trivia; other activities are free.

The Friends of the Farmers Market is a nonprofit that supports the farmers market's activities, including Kids Days and the Double Dollars program. They offer fun events throughout the year to raise money, encourage volunteer involvement, and draw attention to the farmers market’s work. 

What we’re eating now

Sweet potato season is here! Farmers in our area have been digging sweet potatoes since the end of August, and harvest should be finished up this week. All told, Franklin County Farmers Market vendors will bring in around 7,000 pounds of sweet potatoes this year! That’s a lot of marshmallow-topped casseroles. 

Lucky for those of us who don’t love that sickly sweet holiday-meal fixture, there are many other, healthier, ways to enjoy sweet potatoes. I asked the market vendors who grow sweet potatoes for their favorite ways: 

Lee Ann Jones, of Happy Jack’s Farm, prefers her sweet potatoes chopped and roasted with salt and pepper. Versatile and delicious! 

Susan Hutcherson, of Hutcherson Family Farm Produce, wraps her sweet potatoes in foil and bakes them in the oven, like a regular baked potato. 

Connie Lemley, of Cedar Ring Greens, most enjoys hers in curries or as hash browns with sautéed onion, garlic, jalapeño, salt, and a dash of rice wine vinegar. 

As for me, I won’t pass up any of the dishes these farmers are fixing. I also love sweet potatoes baked into bread, blended into sweet potato-pear soup, and as a filling for quesadillas.

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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