A Plentiful and Continuing Harvest
Published: January 3, 2013
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Northeastern Pennsylvania may have recently traded in harvest time for hibernation time, but that isn't keeping one farmers market from closing up shop until the spring.
Now in its third year, the Essential Eating Farmers Market, located at 517 Northern Boulevard in South Abington Township near the intersection of Layton Road and Routes 6 and 11, runs biweekly on Thursdays, including today, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the winter months, giving local food shoppers the chance to purchase fresh organic produce, meats and baked goods year-round.
Organizer Janie Quinn explained that although the idea of a farmers market in the winter may seem surprising at first, it all has to do with the availability of certain items.
"We have product year-round," she said. "We have an artisan baker who uses organic flour and sprouted flour to make his products. He has organic cookies, scones and muffins and a very nice selection of bakery items. He produces year-round, as do our meat and egg producers. Our vegetable people are working harder at extending the season with coop houses and greenhouses and they are growing indoors to start the season."
Offering four vendors - namely the Back Achers Farm, Mockingbird Bakery, Hemlock Creek Farms CSA and Paul Plum Orchards - the market's overall goal is to support locally-based organic farmers who may not have had the opportunity to sell their products otherwise.
"The first thing I say to someone who hasn't tried the market before is that they are going to be amazed by the taste of the food," Quinn said. "When you have food that has been locally grown, that hasn't been overly processed or preserved or that hasn't been transported, the flavor is amazing. I think people want to support the local food growers but they don't know how because it isn't easily or readily available - we want to fix that."
Quinn also explained that the market's philosophy of supporting organic, locally-produced environmentally-friendly food carries over into product packaging.
"We wanted all of the packaging and the way that the food is transported to be environmentally-safe and environmentally-friendly," she said. "The egg cartons are all paper, there is no plastic. The bread is sold in bags, not in plastic. We try to do our part because when you grow fantastic food, you want to preserve it. You want to store it and prepare it in ways that don't harm it."
Quinn suggests that customers who would like to purchase specific items contact the vendors before coming to the market to ensure availability. All contact information as well as the market's full schedule and summer hours are available via the Essential Eating Farmers Market's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EssentialEatingFarmersMarket. "It is so important to know the person who grows your food," Quinn said. "I recently heard the comment that you should buy food that is made from plants, not made in a plant. It is a great line and really describes what we stand for at the Essential Eating Farmers Market."