Iowa is celebrating National Farmers Market Week Aug. 2-8

Iowa is celebrating National Farmers Market Week Aug. 2-8

Farmers markets offer healthy and delicious Iowa-grown fruits, vegetables, meats and other products.

Iowans are encouraged to take advantage of fresh fruits, vegetables and other locally-produced foods available at the more than 220 farmers markets in Iowa as part of National Farmers Market Week, which is August 2-8.

“Farmers markets are a great place to find healthy and delicious Iowa grown fruits, vegetables, meats and other products,” says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.  “National Farmers Market Week, and every week, is a great time to visit your local farmers market to support the vendors who are there and enjoy some of the great food grown in this state.”

EAT LOCAL, EAT FRESH: Iowa has more than 220 farmers markets statewide. A free smartphone app provides locations of the Iowa markets nearest you and has other information such as vendors and hours of operation.

Take advantage of special programs, free app for smartphones
As part of National Farmers Market Week, Northey highlighted the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs. These programs provide eligible low-income seniors as well as women and children in Iowa with checks that can be redeemed for fresh, locally grown produce at authorized farmers markets and farm stands from June 1 through October 31, 2015. 

The Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship administers the programs in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa Department on Aging.  For more information contact Paul Ovrom, program administrator, at 515-242-6239 or at [email protected].

Iowans are also being encouraged to take advantage of the free Iowa Farmers Market app for smartphones that can help Iowans locate the farmers markets in their area.

Smartphone app provides information about farmers markets
The app allows users to find the farmers market closest to them by using GPS location services or to search for specific farmers markets by city or zip code. Once they have located a market, the user can view the hours of the market, browse a list of vendors and see a phone number and email address of the market manager. App users can also leave reviews of the market and vendors and upload photos to share with others.

The app is free to download and is available through Apple’s App store and Google Play by searching “Iowa Farmers Markets.” The app for android phones can also be found at play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.utc.titaniumapns2, and the link for Apple devices is itunes.apple.com/us/app/ia-farmer-mkts/id501591188?ls=1&mt=8.

The app was developed for the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship using funds from USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Grant funds are targeted for projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops that benefit the entire specialty crop industry.

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Scott County family named Good Farm Neighbor Award winners
In other news from Iowa Department of Agriculture, the Paustian family in Scott County in eastern Iowa received the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award August 3. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey presented the award at the family’s farm near Walcott. The “Big Show,” which airs on both WHO and WMT radio, broadcast live from the presentation from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“The Paustian family does a great job raising livestock while also caring for the land and serving their community. It is my honor to help recognize this family. They are another wonderful example of the livestock farms all across Iowa that add so much to our state and local communities,” Northey said.

The Paustian’s farm is a multigeneration operation. Kent and Marcia Paustian and Kent’s brother Ross are all actively involved as well as Ross’s son Tom and Kent’s son Mike and his wife Amy. The farm includes a 1,000 sow farrow-to-finish hog operation that raises 22,000 pigs annually. They also raise corn and soybeans they use to supply feed to the hogs. All of their feed is milled on the farm. In addition to their work on the farm, the family is very active in the local community and in ag industry groups. In addition, Ross is currently serving in the Iowa House of Representatives.

Large hog farm located next to “World’s Largest Truck Stop”
The family was nominated for the award by Will Moon with the Iowa 80 Group. The Paustian’s farm is located next to the “World’s Largest Truck Stop” which has over 2 million customers a year and is operated by the Iowa 80 Group.

In nominating the Paustian’s, Moon said, “This family realizes the value of sustainability for their farm. They have established many conservation practices on their farm. They have seeded buffer strips around creeks, used grass waterways to control erosion, established headland buffer strips on hills and have planted cover crops the last four years. “The family’s hog sites are very well kept.  The sites are routinely mowed, the sites have grass buffer strips around them, they plant trees around the barns, and the family places special consideration in siting by locating the barns back off the road and away from neighbors.”

In closing his nomination Moon added, “The Paustian family farm is 1,600 feet from our corporate office. We don’t notice the farm. I receive all the complaint cards from our customers and have never received a complaint card about odors from a livestock farm. We are proud to be a family-based business and recognize the importance of family businesses like the Paustians.”

You can nominate someone to receive this award
The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor award, made possible through the financial support of the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in doing things right. This includes caring for the environment and their livestock and being good neighbors. It is named in memory of Gary Wergin, a long-time WHO radio farm broadcaster who helped create the award.

Anyone interested in nominating their neighbor for the award should write a letter or e-mail explaining why their neighbor should receive this designation.  Applications may be submitted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship, Attn: Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, Henry A. Wallace Building, Des Moines, IA 50319 or emailed to [email protected].

TAGS: USDA
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