FRANKFORT, Ky. — Some of Kentucky’s approximately 160 farmers’ markets are celebrating National Farmers’ Market Week Aug. 7-13 with special events.
“A lot of them do cooking demonstrations and customer appreciation events, where they give away door prizes,” said Sharon Spencer, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s (KDA’s) farmers’ market specialist. “A lot of them are doing sampling of their products this year.”
Of Kentucky’s 120 counties, 110 have at least one farmers’ market within their borders.
Kentucky’s newest farmers’ market held its grand opening July 27 in Dixon. It attracted television cameras from WEVV in nearby Evansville, Indiana.
“They had a ribbon cutting the previous week, so it was only their second day,” Spencer said. “They had door prizes and giveaways. They’re real excited.
“This is something we started in middle of June this year. I went down there and met with some of the producers, and – boom – it has grown so fast! FFA students are getting involved and were interviewed on the Channel 44 News. They’re real excited about it, so that builds my excitement, too.”
Green County plans to open a farmers’ market this fall in Greensburg, Spencer said.
Many of Kentucky’s farmers’ markets have been getting involved in events that use ingredients from the market to create a meal, usually cooked by a local chef or restaurant. They go by several names – farm to table, market to menu, or Food to Fork, a KDA program that provides funding for community organizations to host Kentucky Proud dinners.
“That program has been very supportive of farmers’ markets,” Spencer said of Food to Fork. “It brings communities together. It gets the city folks and the country folks together.”
As of July 20, the KDA no longer is accepting Food to Fork program applications because the number of requests exceeded allocated program funding.
The KDA has been advertising on radio and in newspapers across Kentucky to publicize Kentucky Proud and farmers’ markets in advance of National Farmers’ Market Week.
At 5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, the weekend before Farmers’ Market Week, the Franklin-Simpson Farmers’ Market hosted the inaugural Hometown Harvest Dinner at its new Southern-style pavilion. Kim Roberts, vice president of the Franklin-Simpson Farmers’ Market, wrote in an email that the dinner was prepared by the Brickyard Restaurant of Franklin and located just off the town square.
Roberts wrote that the Franklin-Simpson Farmers’ Market “is growing by the week,” drawing customers from five counties surrounding Simpson, located on the Tennessee border along Interstate 65.
Spencer said the farmers’ market’s new pavilion “looks like something you would see in Savannah, Georgia, with big columns.”
“Our pavilion has been close to full most of the season, if not entirely full of vendors, and we have customers coming from Simpson, Warren, Logan, and Allen counties in Kentucky, and Sumner and Robertson counties in Tennessee,” Roberts wrote. “The pavilion has made a tremendous difference in the momentum of the market. The vendors have a nice, cool place to sell their products, and the customers have a nice, cool place to shop.”
Following are some other events that Kentucky farmers’ markets are hosting to celebrate Farmers’ Market Week:
- At the Boone County Farmers’ Market, chef Maggie Green, author of “Tasting Kentucky: Favorite Recipes from the Bluegrass State,” will do live cooking demonstrations on Saturday, Aug. 13, starting at 10 a.m.
- Perry County Farmers’ Market set up an appreciation table for its vendors on Wednesday, Aug. 10, and will repeat it on Saturday, Aug. 13.
“I have pictures of each vendor [and farms] to display and getting [biographies] for each one,” wrote market manager Emily Whitaker. “I will serve coffee to the vendors and customers and will add a seasonal snack [chocolate zucchini bread, etc.] on these two market days.”
- The Community Farmers’ Market in Warren County plans to celebrate the week with giveaways on Saturday, Aug. 13.
- Bluegrass Farmers’ Market in Lexington will have three special education centers set up on master gardeners, Kentucky garden clubs, and the Monarch Butterfly Garden Initiative on Saturday, Aug. 13. The market is giving away 250 pumpkin scoops with the Kentucky Proud logo at both Saturday market sites.
- The Covington Farmers’ Market to Table Dinner is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 13, at the market at East 3rd Street between Court and Greenup streets. All ingredients possible will be sourced by market vendors. For tickets and more information, go to eventbrite.com/e/covington-farmers-market-to-table-dinner-fundraiser-tickets-26666703829.