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Alle-Kiski farmers markets bring more to the table than fruits and vegetables

| Monday, June 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Marilyn Misera, of Misera Farms, checks on the supply of flowers they have during the Tarentum Farmers Market on Wednesday, June 12, 2013.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Marilyn Misera, of Misera Farms, checks on the supply of flowers they have during the Tarentum Farmers Market on Wednesday, June 12, 2013.

With the official start to summer coming soon, the Alle-Kiski Valley's farmers markets are getting ready to bring the tastes of the season to many local dinner tables.

“We all buy from grocery stores, but a lot of times their produce is shipped from far away and isn't ripe when it's picked,” said Kiski Township Farmers Market spokeswoman Jamie Ellenberger.

“At most farmers markets, it was picked the same day you buy it.”

In its first year, the Kiski Township Farmers Market will try to make its mark in a quickly growing trend in the A-K Valley.

“We love the fact that we can have Saturday morning hours; that way we can reach people who don't have to work on weekends,” Ellenberger said of the farmers market, which will begin July 13.

Ellenberger said the market already has 11 vendors signed up, although not all of them will feature fresh produce.

“We're going to have people there from time-to-time that will be cooking food, and people with craft booths,” she said. “Actually, for our first day, the firemen will be having their chicken barbecue.

“All of the money the market gets from vendor registration fees will go to the Kiski Township Volunteer Fire Department.”

While the Kiski Township Farmers Market is the new kid on the block, the Tarentum Farmers Market already is open for its sixth year.

But just because its been around for a while doesn't mean the Tarentum market won't have new features.

“We're going to have a new vendor that sells locally grown eggs, chicken, beef and pork,” said Debbie Shiring, the Community Life Coordinator for the Tarentum Business Area Advisory Committee. “We're also going to have guest food trucks every couple of weeks, so we can offer even more variety.”

Shiring said she still is looking for food trucks, and anyone interested should contact her.

According to Shiring, regular visitors need not worry — all of the Tarentum market's old standbys will return this year, including homemade pierogi and the famous potato pancakes from the Rev. Miroslaw Stelmaszczyk (Father Miro).

In Vandergrift, the weekly farmers market will continue to be held on Thursdays. Along with produce, crafts and children's stories, the Vandergrift market will offer shuttle service to and from the market to seniors living in the Lincoln Avenue high-rise apartments.

Kiski Township's Ellenberger said that in addition to the fun and fresh produce, there is another reason to shop at farmers markets.

“We love to support our farmers,” she said. “They're hard workers and they deserve the support.”

R.A. Monti is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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