We had unusually warm temperatures in May, and now that June is here, we are well into the growing season. That means it’s a great time to visit one of Licking County’s farmers markets.
By mid-June, vegetables like lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, peas, beans, and squash are all in season. Even sweet corn, peppers, and tomatoes are starting to ripen. Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, and cherries ripen in June, with peaches, raspberries, and apples close behind.
Eating fresh, locally grown produce is a healthy option in many ways. It supports local farmers and helps preserve farmland. Eliminating the middle-man and buying direct from producers saves money and stimulates our local economy. Supporting local farmers promotes sustainability and reduces transportation and storage costs.
Visiting a farmers market also supports healthy communities by getting you out for a little exercise and fresh air. You have an opportunity to meet friends and make new ones – including getting to know the local farmers who grow your food. By talking to the vendors, you can ask about their farming practices as well as get ideas for recipes and find out what produce is coming into season next.
Licking County’s farmers markets are located at:
- The Canal Market District, 36 E. Canal St., Newark – Tuesdays and Fridays 4 to 7PM
- Granville Farmers Market, N. Main St., Granville – Saturdays 9AM to Noon
- Granville Tuesday Farmers Market, Ross’ Granville Market – Tuesdays 3 to 6PM
- Johnstown, on the Square – Saturdays 9AM to Noon
- Pataskala, Veterans Green – Fridays 4 to 7PM
Of course, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, growing your own garden is a great option. Even in mid-June it is not too late to plant some crops. Carrots, beets, parsnips, squash, zucchini, and pumpkins are all good options for June plantings.
The best way to ensure that local farmers markets are successful is to visit their vendors and buy local produce. I urge you to support local farmers and help build a healthier Licking County by visiting a farmers market near you.
Joe Ebel is the Licking County Health Commissioner.
Found in The Newark Advocate on June 9, 2018