HENDERSON — Rusk County residents have a twice-weekly chance to get produce and herbs fresh from the farm.
The Rusk County Farmers Market opened for the season earlier this month and will run through November, said Lori Crawford, president of the farmers market association.
“Farmers markets bring a lot to the community,” Crawford said. “They offer a chance for people to make healthier eating choices and understand a bit more about where their food comes from.”
Produce available this past week included potatoes, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers and herbs. Other products, such as fresh eggs and handmade aprons and lace necklaces, also were for sale. Fruits such as berries and melons should begin being offered within the next few weeks, she said.
“Unlike a supermarket, we take the time to talk with our customers and help educate them on ways to prepare the produce and even give them tips on growing their own gardens, if that’s what they’re interested in,” Crawford said.
Another farmer, Diane Jones, said she and her husband enjoy selling at the farmers market, rather than to stores, because it allows them to have direct contact with the customers and provide fresher produce.
“These onions were pulled barely an hour before we loaded up the truck to drive over here,” Jones said. “It doesn’t get much fresher than that.”
Crawford and the Joneses regularly sell in farmers markets and say it’s fun to discuss their growing techniques and crop choices with the people who visit the market.
Judith Taylor was one of the customers and said she prefers shopping for her produce at farmers markets and roadside stands whenever possible.
“I’m new to the area, so it’s my first visit to this particular market, but I prefer to buy directly from the farmers if I can,” Taylor said. “There’s more variety and less pesticides in the vegetables they have available.”
Taylor also appreciates the opportunity to support the local economy and get more detailed information on the produce she’s selecting.
“I think people would eat healthier if they made more of an effort to seek out fresh, locally grown products, because the taste is so much better,” she said.
Another customer, Patsy Louviere, said the produce available at farmers markets has another advantage; because there are no middlemen and little overhead, the food is generally less expensive than in supermarkets.
“It’s better for both your wallet and your body, and that’s an unbeatable combination,” Louviere said.