Locally grown, sold year round

According to the USDA Ag Marketing Service, 296 percent is the rate of increase in farmers markets nationwide since 2000.

What could be driving this type of increase? I think it is just one reflection of the desire by shoppers to source part of their family’s food supply from local sources they know and trust.

While I have heard heated discussions about the geography of food and how important it is for it to be “local” and what “local” means (don’t get me started), I think when it is all said and done, it is not so much about where the food comes from but more about who grew it and how.

Farmers markets have a long tradition of providing a platform for connecting the consumer with the farmer who grew it in a convenient one-stop shop location.

Unfortunately, times are changing, and people’s schedules along with them.

Both farmers and shoppers tend to find it challenging today to be at one market location on Saturday morning or Wednesday morning or afternoon and still have time to meet all of their other time commitments.

I have even heard from some shoppers who report that they like to sleep in on Saturday mornings or are busy taking children here and there for a variety of activities and responsibilities. If they miss the market window, they miss the opportunity to buy local. Or do they?

Another challenge for traditional farmers markets is the changing of the season. While it’s nice to enjoy the start of the traditional market season with asparagus and strawberries and then move into the summer bounty of tomatoes and sweet corn and so much more and then the fall with the colorful pumpkins, squash and greens, then comes winter and the market traditionally closes. But does it have to?

I would encourage you to continue your purchasing of Indiana farm and artisan products throughout winter by accessing the market at the 4-H fairgrounds winter market or the Hoosier Harvest Market.

Our local market in Greenfield is unusual in that it opens on a modified schedule (every other Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) through the winter months after the end of October. This offers access to many familiar vendors throughout the winter a bit later in the day.

The Hoosier Harvest Market is essentially an online virtual market that features the very best seasonally available Indiana products just like your local farmers market but with more flexible hours and with the convenience of delivery.

While you may not have the pleasure of meeting the farmer who produced your food directly or handling the produce, rest assured that all products of the Hoosier Harvest Market are produced by those same farmers and artisans whom you have come to know and trust, and they are fresh, of high quality and produced in a manner that is important to you.

With the Hoosier Harvest Market, you can shop for your goods from the comfort of your home or office computer or even your smartphone (yes, there is an app for that!) 24 hours a day from Friday at noon when the market opens to Wednesday at noon when it closes. Your items are custom-harvested or baked and delivered to your chosen pickup point on Thursday afternoon each week.

The process is really very simple. Go online to hoosier harvestmarket.com and take a look.

It just takes a few minutes to set up your personal secure account and to buy as much or as little as you wish from one or a combination of farmers and artisans. Payment is conveniently made online.

There is no subscription, minimum or commitment to buy.

By the way, the app makes the shopping experience just that much easier. Look for “HHM Basket” for iPhone or “Hoosier Harvest” for Android phones.

Want to keep up with the latest offerings at the market and what is happening down on the farm? Like the Hoosier Harvest Market on Facebook.

The choice is yours. The good news is that in Hancock County, you do have a choice if you want to buy your food from your neighbor farmers and keep your food dollars here in the community.