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5 Ways to Infuse the Local Bounty into Your Spring, Summer and Fall
Opportunities to Celebrate PA Produce Month Are All Around
Harrisburg, PA – When it comes to local vegetables, Summer is a magical time in the great state of PA. August, the official PA Produce Month, is especially nourishing, and individuals should consider stocking up while the getting is not just good – it’s great!
By this time of year in Pennsylvania, some people are already making the most of local farms, and their nutritious offerings, by finding a shopping rhythm with their neighborhood farm stand, roadside stand, or farmers market. Some may be eager to pick up a CSA box, attend an auction each week, or stock up on local produce featured in their favorite supermarket. Exploring any or all of those avenues would qualify as celebrating PA Produce Month but there’s always room for more, and alternative ways, to partake in this August campaign that’s all about supporting and paying thanks to your local farmers. Here’s a few to consider:
Classes & Workshops
Often times local businesses will host workshops or classes that are centered around local food. Some farmers organize events internally and host them right on the farm. If you can, connect directly to your farmer. They will most certainly inform you of their upcoming events and likely have their finger on the pulse of other locally-infused events as well.
Festivals & Special Events
Many farmers host open farm days, pick your own opportunities, and seasonal festivals in Spring, Summer, and Fall, which are excellent family-friendly opportunities to make a genuine connection with your farmer and your food. Kids have a chance to develop interest in local food at a young age, while having fun and connecting with other children. Furthermore, if you’ve never attended an “in the field” dinner, it’s time you experience local food bliss through these truly magical events that put you as close to the source as possible. Local business development groups are typically eager to share details about these events, and local publications (newspapers included) often put out seasonal event calendars. Start there!
Host Your Own Party
Preserving the local bounty is a tried and true process but the idea can be daunting at times. Lighten it up a bit by adding friends and family to the mix. You can have a once and done party, or schedule a recurring day each month until the end of the season. Even if the group decides to simply freeze peppers and onions, the activity will be far more fun with a collective momentum working toward the end goal. And you’ll all walk away with something useful – PA veggies to enjoy in the off-season! Don’t forget to include local vegetable snacks for guests who attend.
Sometimes you can support farmers indirectly by buying from the makers who buy from them. Think about your favorite staples – juice, the local grab-n-go, ice cream, jams, bread. Everything comes from a farm so consider seeking out those makers who craft delicious products using the farms in your backyard. You can often find these specialized artisans at your local farmers market but don’t hesitate to ask your farmer who their “partners” are for the inside scoop.
There is power in numbers. Reach out to the relative committees and organizations in your vicinity. Let them know it’s PA Produce Month, and you’re ready and willing to steer an initiative or volunteer as needed to support the local food system.
With so many options, there should be something for everyone. Plus, when you’re having trouble finding time for something extra special, remember that celebrating PA Produce Month can be as simple as sourcing local vegetables. This act is still extremely important, and made easier by the directory of retail farm markets and recipes on PAVeggies.org. When you decide to join in, let us know by tagging #paveggies and mentioning the local farm(s) involved. Happy PA Produce Month!
The Pennsylvania Vegetable Marketing and Research Program is a statewide marketing order established by a grower referendum, governed by a grower board and funded by grower assessments. The Program’s sole purpose is to serve the vegetable growers of Pennsylvania by promoting Pennsylvania-grown vegetables and funding practical vegetable production research. Consider liking PA Veggies on Facebook (PAVeggies), following along on Instagram (@PAVeggies); and using #PAVeggies to find and share your homegrown PA happiness experiences. EDITORS: If you have any questions, please contact us at 267.275.1198 [email protected].