Anna Walnoha | Staff Writer
If you live in or around the Pittsburgh area and find yourself in need of something to do, you’ll find that there is no shortage of activities to fill the time. Pittsburgh is a lively city with exciting attractions for every age, but sometimes it’s nice to just have a laid back day with yourself or family. Besides, if you’re trying to watch you’re spending, it’s hard to find free events – or at the very least, events that aren’t quite so expensive.
One thing that every person can enjoy is a farmers market. During the summer and early autumn, farmers markets have something for everyone to enjoy. You may think that they are just a place where you buy fruits and vegetables, but they also offer so much more.
When you go to a market, especially if it’s local, it gives you a chance to see your city or town from a fresh, organic point of view. If you bring your family, and if you have kids, you can show them a healthy way of shopping and eating.
You can make a day out of it, and it won’t break the bank.
If you give your kids a shopping list of different foods you would like in your house, they can keep an eye out for the different vendors and what they are selling while showing them produce that they might know. It makes them more conscientious of local produce and more aware of the fact that food comes from other places than just a grocery store. Most of all, it can show them that eating healthy can be fun.
And at the end of the trip, you can probably find a vendor selling sweet treats for everyone to enjoy. Unhealthy eating can be fun, too, after all.
One great market is the Mt. Lebanon Farmers Market. Running every Wednesday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., it is small but busy, with 15 different vendors selling everything from flowers to produce to fudge.
Each vendor you come across is not only selling their product, but they each have their own story of how they got there and started out.
A local dairy vendor from Family Farms Creamers says that they help local dairy farmers sell their produce at farmer’s markets and other local areas. They sell for six to eight different farmers. They go to seven markets a week, and summer is their main source of income for the year. They go to two winter markets, but they mostly rely on their summer crowd as a primary source of income.
Holly Herbold, from Her Bold Farm, is one of eight generations that has worked at her farm. Her son, who was at the market with her and her husband, is the eighth generation.
She said that she and her husband are the main ones that work at their family farm. They have five employees and a few interns that are staying at the farm to help out with the duties that come with running it. She sells all organic produce and flowers during the summer, and fresh eggs all year round. Just like the dairy vendor, summer is the family’s main source of income, as well.
Going to farmers markets is a good way to shop for healthy, farm-to-table produce, but while walking around, you might want a sweet treat to munch on.
Julie Fritz-Doyle from Beatnik Sweet Eats has her own cute pink food truck that pumps out delectable treats. Summers before, she would usually set up a table and tent at the market, but after getting her leg amputated 16 months ago, she said getting the truck this year was a big help.
The truck has helped her bring in more income, as well. She does summer through October at farmer’s markets, then after October, she starts to go to food truck stops.
“You can make a living doing this if you do so many markets a day,” said Fritz-Doyle. “And I just have to drive up to them.”
Not only is her spirit admirable, but her chocolate chip cookies are to die for. They’re thick, with chocolate chunks all the way through, and they were only $2. All of her other baked goods are just as reasonably priced, as well, in case you’d like to try any of her other treats.
Overall, there were so many things to look at in one packed, little parking lot, that you could come back every week to try something new. So if you have time before the days start to get cold and short, take a few dollars and head to this – or any – farmers market. Not only will you be having fun, but you’ll also be supporting local business.