I hope that you are having a great summer so far.
It is so hard to believe that July is already half way over, and soon August will be approaching. With the later part of summer arriving, two local, fun activities really stand out this time of the year: County fairs and farmers markets / produce stands. Both of these types of events are great ways to get out of the house, support local and meet the farmers behind your food.
Just a week ago was the Trumbull County Fair, and even though it rained a good portion of the week, it was still a wonderful week full of food, friends, family and farming. County fairs hold a special place in my heart. As a child I was a dairy 4-H member, and by far, fair week was the highlight of my summer. I worked with my project animals year-round for one week of presentation, but that one week meant the world to me. Quite truthfully, in my younger 4-H years, I could have cared less how well I placed in my classes; I was there to have fun and soak in all that fair week had to offer.
More often than not, I probably ate one too many snow cones, but it was a wonderful week. Fair week was a great opportunity to catch up with friends throughout the county who maybe you only see once a year, or to talk with consumers walking around the fair who come back yearly. Granted, as I got older, I put a little more emphasis onto my 4-H projects, and cared a little more about my placings, but still this week was one to not only have fun, but to do my job as a producer and mingle with consumers and answer any questions they might have on where their food comes from.
As the summer continues and early fall approaches, there are still many more chances to get out to a local fair. Many fairs have hands-on displays where you are able to watch a cow being milked, or maybe even you can milk a cow yourself, or watch a horse show, or maybe even see a litter of baby piglets. There are plenty of learning experiences for people of all ages.
Another rewarding opportunity at a fair is to attend the livestock sale. These kids have worked vigorously with their market projects all year long to showcase them at the sale. Not only would these kids love to see your support in the stands, but if you are in the market for an animal to stock your freezer with fresh meat, there is no better place to buy. This not only provides you with a wholesome, quality-raised food product, but it also supports a hardworking kid in the industry.
If you are unable to make it to a fair this year, but still want in on the supporting local, and doing something fun for the season, then check out a local produce market. There are several markets in the area that not only offer their fresh homegrown produce, but they also sell local bottled milks, ciders, bakery items and more. All of this is supporting local while being delicious. Farmers markets and roadside stands are another great way to get your hands on local, fresh produce while supporting an individual in their hobby and small business.
More often than not when purchasing from these markets and stands, you are not only getting a fresh product, but the quality is superior to that bought in mass amounts. The proceeds from these are often supporting a family vacation, a kid’s after school sport, or maybe even a college savings account. Knowing that you are not only getting a great product, but also helping someone local fulfill their dreams is one of the best feelings.
Submitted by Julie Holler, a local dairy farmer and a Trumbull County Farm Bureau board trustee.
OFBF Mission: Working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.