Iola to celebrate Farmers Market

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August 5, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Celebrations across the state are touting Farmers Market Week, which runs through Saturday. Allen County is no exception.
On Thursday, the Allen County Farmers Market will feature its regular array of food vendors along Jackson Avenue, along with the music of Iolan Damaris Kunkler
“I think Iola supports the market very well and we appreciate that very much,” said Calvin Parker, Farmers Market president.
Parker often has a booth at the market and can be found sharing fresh seasonal vegetables from his garden. In the spring, he often has lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and radishes. In early summer, the peas, green beans and sugar snap peas are at their best. Later, tomatoes and sweet corn come in. Autumn brings turnips and sweet potatoes.
“We’re pretty fortunate. I think we’ve got a pretty wide variety of things throughout the year,” he said.
Parker said every year’s bounty is different, depending on the weather patterns. Right now, sweet corn and tomatoes are big sellers at the market.
“I try to have tomatoes as early as possible,” he said.
Offering fresh, locally grown produce and meeting new people are some of Parker’s favorite things about the market. Something else he finds really special is seeing children try something for the first time, like sugar snap peas, and liking it.
“You’d be surprised the number of people who don’t have them in their diet,” he said.
Gov. Sam Brownback announced August would be Farmers Market Month and the week of Aug. 3-9 would be Farmers Market Week, in honor of Kansas agriculture.
The Farmers Market meets at its usual time Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. Kunkler said she would try to bring the stage close to the end of the market to make it more available to people and perform songs on her guitar from a variety of eras and genres to have something for everybody.

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