It’s the height of the growing season here in Connecticut! In the city, it’s so nice to see small yard gardens and tomatoes trellised onto porches that catch the most sunlight. Yet, with such limited space, it can be tough to grow your own produce. Seasonally, the Danbury Farmers’ Market has lots of locally grown fruits and vegetables that might otherwise be grown in a larger home garden. Corn, tomatoes, peppers, chilis, tomatillos, cilantro, calabasa, squash, eggplant, leafy greens and fresh fruits are available at this time of year from our many farmers. There are a few really great reasons why buying locally grown produce from the farmers’ market is better for you and your family.
Local produce brought to the market is typically picked that morning, so it has the most possible nutrient value and it lasts much longer in your home. Often, foods purchased at the supermarket have been artificially ripened, coated in food grade waxes to prevent spoilage and are days old from traveling to the grocer from far away. In addition to freshness and nutrition, you also come away with more vegetables that have tops, such as beets, carrots and radishes. These very delicious tops can be washed and cooked like spinach or other dark leafy greens.
Local bands, food trucks and cooking and nutrition workshops have improved the market this year, making it a great activity for families and friends. The Danbury Public Schools Family Learning Center also provides a tent where children can receive a free book! Transportation and parking at the market are much better. Complimentary parking is available in the Patriot garage. The FREE HARTransit Trolley makes a loop downtown and free bus passes from the market are available at the big white tent next to the bandshell.
There’s another important reason to shop at the Danbury Farmers’ Market: The Danbury Farmers’ Market Community Collective (DFMCC) has incentive programs that provide free extra cash to spend at the market. The mission of DFMCC is to provide access to fresh food for all Danbury residents. It is a diverse group of over 35+ community agencies, community leaders and businesses working to be awarded private and governmental grants, provide a community-wide health and nutrition campaign, support sustainable agriculture initiatives and foster an economic development strategy for downtown Danbury.
Programs being run this season:
Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program $9 match per market for
WIC- Pregnant/nursing women
Children up to age 5
You SNAP We Match Produce Match $25 per market
SNAP recipients; frequent shopper card with $10 bonus after 5 punches
Nutrition Workshop DFMCC Produce Certificates
Up to $15 total per person after completion of nutrition workshop at the market
Veterans DFMCC Produce Certificates
Up to $15 total per person with valid veteran ID
For a full list of incentive programs, and to sign up for the Market’s weekly newsletter, please visit our website danburyfarmersmarket.org, and please visit our Facebook page.
Lastly, purchasing food from local farmers’ markets supports local farmers and the land. The money used to buy from local markets helps our farmers put food on their own tables and helps them support their efforts and families. More farmers also means more preserved green and growing space, which is environmentally important. Buying local, in places such as the farmers’ market, helps boost the local economy as more money stays within the community. This makes for a healthier and more vibrant Danbury.
Looking forward to seeing you there!
This article was written by Peggy Zamore, Director/Nutritionist of the Danbury Farmers’ Market Community Collaborative. For more information, please call 203-792-1711 or visit www.DanburyFarmersMarket.org.