MADISONVILLE, Ky. (8/1/13) – The Hopkins County Extension Service celebrated its annual Farmer's Market Appreciation Day on Wednesday, July 31 at the Ballard Convention Center at 605 E. Arch Street, Madisonville.
While the event was filled with fun activities, food, door prizes and music by Ray Ligon, significance of it was to show appreciation to local farmers and to spread the awareness about family-owned farmer's markets.
"Today went really well. We do this every year to get the community out and to learn about where the foods are coming from and whose growing it. Not a lot of people realize that there are a lot of people who grow these foods here in Hopkins County," said Andy Rideout, horticulturalist for the extension service.
With all the rainy weather this year, some local farmers got a late start with planting. Farmers need a more well-drained soil to permit timely field operations. In well-drained soil, the oxygen is able to reach the root zone to promote root health. Soil with too much water, optimal root growth can't happen and possibly kill the plant.
Chris Devoto, of Twin Maples Homestead & Family Forest Farm and the market manager said while they had a late start, produce is readily available.
"We are just now getting started, with everything coming up so late this year... everything is really coming in now," said Devoto. "Venders will have their booths open all the way through Oct. 31."
Devoto is using a creative and innovative farming method that has added new dimensions to the land and has been establishing better relationships between buyers and growers by reconnecting people to their land and provided fresh produce.
Twin Maples Homestead will be having a tomato-tasting party on September 5, and is inviting the community to taste 17 different heirloom tomatoes.
Local farmers George and Rita Kelly of Pontiac Lane Garden of Mortons Gap also had a great day.
"Today went really well for us. We had a lot of people buy a lot of our stuff. I tried to stay stocked on everything... well what we had available. We really prepared ourselves for this day," said Rita Kelly. "It was a special day and we figured there would be a lot of people, so I spent effort on bringing extra. We saw a lot of people and we met a lot of people - great day overall."
Rideout said the event hit the mark in bringing awareness to locally-available fresh foods. "We just want people to come out and support our local economy and support our farmers. That's what we are all about here," he said. "And, eat more pickles."
Photos Provided by Amber Mena
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