ERIE COUNTY—To local farmers and growers, summertime means new produce in season. To local residents, it means that fresh produce is popping up at local farmers markets, stands and roadside stops.
The Hamburg Farmers’ Market is located in the village of Hamburg Municipal Parking Lot. It is open every Saturday through the first Saturday in November, from 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. The Hamburg Chamber of Commerce promises fresh produce from certified organic and natural farms, salsa and jam, fresh eggs, homemade pastas, baked goods, spices, flowers and more.
The Blasdell Farmers’ Market is located in the Ilio DiPaolo’s parking lot at 3785 South Park Ave. That market is open every Wednesday through October 15, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
The Springville Auction, also known as Gentner Commission Market, is located at 341 West Main St. and is open Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. This market has the usual selection of consumables, as well as products from the nearby Amish community, including furniture, quilts, pies and baked goods and livestock. Local farmers can participate in a live auction for animals and all visitors can peruse the large flea market behind the main barn.
Erin Erickson, senior director of marketing and business development for the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, said she thinks that it is important to buy from a local grower.
“Purchasing goods from a local market is a great way to support the local economy, create environmental sustainability and enjoy produce that is fresh from a nearby farm. Local markets allow you to ‘get to know your grower’ and create relationships and bonds with the people that grow or produce your food,” said Erickson. “You can engage with the vendor, learn about the process and develop camaraderie, all the while shopping with friends and family.”
According to Erickson, local vendors often support one another’s businesses by shopping within the community for supplies, crops and other items. A large corporation will not necessarily invest the money back into the surrounding area, she noted. In addition, many of the farms are family businesses. Therefore, their profits are more likely to go toward their children’s schooling, their homes or communities.
Knowing exactly where food is being grown and picked can mean local produce is safer. The local farmers have a responsibility to their consumers and greater visibility, in that community.
Fresh produce grown from local markets retains the optimal nutritional value, as well. When produce is picked, the vitamins they contain, such as C, E, A and B begin to deteriorate. Therefore, the longer food sits, the less healthful it becomes.
“There is nothing better than enjoying fresh, tasty and nutritious produce,” said Erickson. “Not only does fresh produce offer a ton of nutritional value, as fresh produce retains more vitamins, minerals, and ‘benefits to the body,’ but it tastes better and makes it more enjoyable to snack on or add to your favorite dish.”
In addition to farmers’ markets, there are local farms and markets that sell their wares directly to the public. North Collins has businesses such as Bowman Farms Inc. and Awald Farms, open to anyone who stops by. These locations also offer fresh seasonal picking, as well. Henry W. Agle & Sons is owned and operated by Karyn Agle Sullivan and is located in Eden.
“As a wholesale grower of produce, I think we are very lucky to have supermarket chains that really support locally grown produce,” Sullivan said. “I would definitely encourage people to buy local produce wherever is convenient for them–grocery chains or small farm markets.”