Area farm stands provide healthy choices
Farm stands and farmers markets give hungry customers an opportunity to get fresh produce outside their local supermarkets, and most of them offer patrons a chance to help the community.
Rainbow Kitchen Community Services in Homestead does just that with its farm stand in the Citizens Bank parking lot along Eighth Avenue every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Rainbow Kitchen outreach coordinator Marlene “Pumpkin” Murphy said local farmers donate food to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank in Duquesne, and Rainbow purchases that food for its stand. Proceeds at the stand benefit Rainbow's many food programs. This is the third year for the farm stand.
“The years have been good,” Murphy said Wednesday. “The last two weeks I think have been our worst time the whole times we've done it because of the severe heat and then the rain. That was the first time we've ever had a rain out.”
Martha Dukes of Duquesne said she frequents the Homestead farm stand and likes the food and the people.
“I have enough for today,” Dukes said. “I was here last year.”
Booths at the farm stand are run by Rainbow volunteers. Approximaely 85 to 90 people stop by each session.
“It's convenient for our seniors,” Murphy said. “It's really the only farm market or store outside of Giant Eagle right now.”
Murphy also thanked the borough and Citizens Bank for its partnership in allowing the farm stand in the parking lot.
The farm stand runs through September.
Mon Yough Community Services operates a farmers market in McKeesport near the intersection of Market Street and Fifth Avenue on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Produce available at the farmers markets includes beets, cabbage, cantaloupe, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, green peppers, honeydew, lettuce, mushrooms, nectarines, peaches, radishes, scallions, sweet knobby onions, tomatoes, yellow squash and zucchini.
The Homestead farm stand and the McKeesport farmers market accept checks from the Allegheny County Health Department's Women, Infants and Children supplemental food program.
Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or postpartum, and children between 2-4 years old who are enrolled in the WIC program are eligible for checks worth $20 in free produce.
A full list of farmers markets and farm stands approved by the WIC program is available online at www.acdh.net.
Some of the local ones are:
• Lifespan Senior Center's Clairton Farm Stand at 530 Miller Ave. in Clairton. Open Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. through Nov. 21
• Forest Hills Presbyterian Church's Farmer's Market along Ardmore Boulevard. Open Fridays from 4-7 p.m. through October.
• Hawkins Village Farm Stand at 500 Kenmawr Ave. in Rankin. Open Thursdays from 2-6 p.m. through Nov. 21.
• Grow Pittsburgh's Braddock Farms near the intersection of Sixth Street and Braddock Avenue in Braddock. Open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October.
• Century III Mall's Farmers Market along Route 885 behind the West Mifflin mall. Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through October.
• Monroeville Lions Farmers Market at 2399 Tillbrook Road in Monroeville Community Park. Open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon through November.
• Olde World Produce at 1206 Route 51 in Pleasant Hills. Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through September.
• Pleasant Hills Farmers Market at 199 Old Clairton Road. Open Thursdays from 3:30-7:30 p.m. through Oct. 17.
• Turtle Creek Valley Westinghouse Valley Human Services Center's Farm Stand at 519 Penn Ave. in Turtle Creek. Open Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. through Nov. 21.
In Westmoreland County, Irwin Business & Professional Association sponsors the Fourth Street Market in downtown Irwin on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon through October. More information about the market is available by calling 724-864-0560.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965 or email@example.com.