Farm to table

| Erika Hall reporter |

To hear three Pittsburg farmer’s market customers tell it, “farm fresh” is something you can actually taste.
“The difference between a farmers-market tomato and a store-bought tomato is like the difference between a tomato and cardboard,” says Trent Kling, PSU assistant professor of communication, who also owns an orchard and is now on his first term on the board of directors for the local farmers market.
Kling says the difference is that it is grown with an eye toward the end consumer in mind, rather than just grown with an eye toward mass production, and he says the prices are highly comparable.
“There are some things that are at a premium but a lot of times they will beat grocery store prices, and if you are paying a premium just know that you’re paying a premium for produce that is either grown organically or grown locally with minimal pesticides,” he said.
Noemi Hernandez and Shelby Hobbs, both Pitt State students, say farm fresh is the way to go and have their families to thank for introducing them to the farmers market.
Hobbs, junior in elementary education, says Pittsburg is her hometown and that as long as she can remember her parents have gotten food from the local farmers market.
“It used to be really small and now it is growing into a bigger deal and more appreciated,” Hobbs said. “Any farm fresh good is way better than a preserved good from the grocery store.”
Hernandez, senior in recreation, says the relaxed environment is what keeps her coming back.
“I can’t explain it, everyone is so happy. I love seeing so many colors in the fruits and vegetables. It’s a happy place of mine, and even though it cost a little extra, it’s so worth it,” she said.
The Pittsburg farmers market is a producer-only market, which means that all the vendors are vetted, so it is verified that what they are selling at their booth is made by them, grown by them, and in the case of meat or eggs, raised by them.
Kling says the fact that they have a recently completed building will be great for customers and vendors alike, with protection from rain in the spring or the sun in June, July and August.
The new farmers market building is just off of 12th and Broadway and is open from 7:30 a.m. to about noon from April to November. Those interested in being a vendor should go to www.pittsburgfarmersmarket.org.

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