Fresh from the Farm
Aug 29, 2013 12:51PM
● By Beth Davis
Nestled in the Camp Hill Borough Building parking lot, Farmers on Walnut is a producers-only farmers’ market operated by participating local farmers and a staff of volunteers. The market provides the community with a large selection of produce, meats, dairy and more—all grown and produced within 50 miles of the market. The market is held from 3 to 7 p.m. each Thursday beginning May 16 until October 24. A winter market takes place at the Camp Hill Presbyterian Church from November until April.
Bee Local, a local food festival that included a popular Saturday farmers’ market, inspired the launch of the market. As a shopper at the market, Monica Rhodes, volunteer market manager for Farmers on Walnut, wondered why the area didn’t have something like it on a regular basis. She and a group of farmers got together and decided to develop a market of their own. After finding a location, Farmers on Walnut officially opened last year.
It includes 11 full-time vendors, plus weekly guest vendors. Visitors will find beef, pork and poultry; a wide variety of fruits and vegetables; organic herbs; aged raw milk cheeses and fresh cheese; honey; mushrooms; artisan breads; eggs; vinegars; delicious baked goods; fresh greens; and more.
“The market offers the opportunity to eat seasonally—to enjoy the good stuff. The produce is picked when it’s ready, not picked and then gassed to accelerate ripening,” explains Rhodes. “And the meat and dairy farmers go to great lengths to make sure feed is not GMO (genetically modified organism).” She says individuals are realizing that farmers believe in and love what they do. “People are becoming more aware of the virtues of locally grown and locally sourced foods,” states Rhodes.
Freshness, flavor and nutrition are obvious attributes to buying local, but purchasing from local farmers also supports family farms that have survived through the generations, as well as the local economy. “On average, for every dollar you spend at Farmers on Walnut, the farmer returns as much as 68 cents to the local community,” notes Rhodes. “Because they live here, they hire local workers, they shop here and they support other local farms and businesses. Compare that to groceries from a box store, where only 15 cents of your dollar spent on food returns back to the local community.”
Location: 2145 Walnut St., Camp Hill. For more information, visit FarmersOnWalnut.org.