A {Local} Christmas

_ Local Farmers

Many farmers are working to extend the growing season by preserving the summer’s harvest, planting cold weather crops, or using high tunnels to grow tomatoes that can ripen on the vine.This allows farmers like Betsy Borders to extend her selling season of summer’s tomato harvest into salsa and sun-dried tomatoes. At the Winter Market located inside the “Old Mall” between Big Lots and Dollar General, farmers are able to bring these extended season crops like tomatoes, lettuces, radishes, greens, sweet potatoes, meats, eggs, cheeses, and wine directly to the customers who appreciate them.  Because it is a producer-only market, you know exactly where your food is grown and you can meet the growers in person.  Also, the farmers will be digging through seed catalogs in the next couple of months so it is the perfect time for you to start putting in your requests for next year!

A variety of foods are still being grown by farmers across the area.  While the market only runs until December 17th many of the farmers offer a CSA with produce available all year.

_ Local Crafters and Artisans

Buying your gifts locally takes fair trade to the next level.  You can get to know the sellers’ stories, ask them questions, and find out why they are sharing their gifts and talents with others.  Community Farmers’ Market’s Winter Market offers you the ability to meet your crafters in person.  The vendors have a passion for those things they bring to market every Saturday.  They have dreamed about it, researched it, and now they bring it to market hoping that you will love it too. 

Aric Johnson shares what he loves best about his gourmet peanut butters he will offer at Community Farmers Market this winter, “The best thing about our peanut butter, in my mind, is pretty simple: where else can you get find peanut butter swirled with delicious ingredients such as creamy white chocolate, decadent dark chocolate, crunchy pretzels, or candied pecans? Simply smelling our ‘Kentucky Bourbon Butter’ or ‘Good Morning Georgia’ spreads will instantly remind you of the holiday season.”

The Southern Spreads Co. will be offering their unique, delicious peanut butter at the market.

_ Community Farmers’ Market 

{Winter Market}

Saturdays from 8-1

Inside the “Old Mall” between Dollar General and Big Lots

Experience Community

Farmers’ markets provide a place to bring people with common interests together.  It also creates an environment where diverse people can get together and learn from one another.  With the addition of hot breakfast and occasional live music, the Winter Market provides a comfortable environment where you can enjoy a change of pace for a few minutes or even a couple of hours on a Saturday morning.  On opening day, a customer left a comment on the message board that said, “Coming to the market always reminds me that there are people working really hard to grow food and make items I need that are better than what I can buy in the store.  When I buy local I am supporting people who live right here in my community.”

Give Back

Through December 17th you can bring canned food items to be donated to family resource offices and HOTEL INC.  Many of the vendors at the market are also working on their own ways of giving back through donating food or a percentage of their proceeds to charities.  Learn more about this by getting to know your local farmers and artists!

ECO-Friendly Gift Giving:  In addition to buying local, the market will be providing a free, “green” gift wrapping table full of recycled paper, fabric, ties, string, and gift tags.  You can buy and wrap your gifts all in one place!  This is happening thanks to volunteers who have been involved in the market since opening day.

The ties of the local food system run deep.  For example, Lisa Yeager, who will be volunteering to help you wrap your gifts, works right across the street at Home Café and Marketplace.  Owners Josh and Chelsea Polling are loyal customers to vendors at the market, and you will see many of the market’s farmers listed on their “Local Farmers” board.  I interviewed Josh and asked him to share why local food, community, and the holidays are important to him:

Experience Home by Josh Poling

“Chelsey and I opened Home Café & Marketplace so that we could cook the food we love to eat.  We make almost everything from scratch, and I want people to understand that.  I buy as many products as I can locally.  I come from a family that is not very far removed from living off the land.  While buying local is a huge trend right now, my family has been buying local ever since I can remember.  Buying local is not an obligation, but an opportunity.  Just as some examples, for the Bulgogi sandwich, we bring in whole eye of round from Wibaux Beef in Franklin, KY.  When we buy tomatoes from Need More Acres, they are picked off the vine.  People forget that tomatoes are supposed to taste like something.  There should be a huge burst of acidity followed by a subtle sweetness.

Josh and Chelsey Poling, owners of Home Café & Marketplace are commited to offering unique menu items with as many local ingredients as possible.

_ December is such a good time of year for food.  There are so many opportunities to gather the whole family and sit down for a great meal.  What I love about the holiday season is that people take time to eat.  There are no appointments or anything after the meal.  I can remember family meals lasting for what seemed like hours while we visited and took a break from our busy lives.  In addition to our December specials, I encourage customers to come and truly enjoy the food we serve at Home.  Ask me or one of the staff about a dish.  Use it as a place to catch up with loved ones and take a break from your lives.  When it comes to specials, it all depends on the weather and season, and Chelsey has a double fudge mint chocolate chip cookie we cannot wait to unveil in December!”