Farmers markets, stands offer alternative to imported produce
Farmers markets and farm stands give residents of Allegheny County a healthy and delicious alternative to imported supermarket produce.
The Lions Club farmers market at Pleasant Hills Community Presbyterian Church, 199 Old Clairton Road, gives local residents this option every Thursday from 3-6:30 p.m.
“The farmers market is a community service,” Lions secretary Geoff Temple said. “The elderly of the community really enjoy it because they can come get fresh food without having to travel very far.”
The market draws farmers from Simmons Farm in McMurray, and Trax Farms and Stone Church Acres, both in Finleyville, as well as other local vendors like Kenner's Just Nuts and BreadWorks. This is the eighth year for the market.
Holly Ferkett of Pleasant Hills said she's never missed one of the markets.
“I like to come out and support local farmers and I like to be able to eat locally grown food,” Ferkett said.
The Lions Club farmers market runs through Oct. 9.
Rainbow Kitchen Community Services is operating its fourth annual farm stand in the Citizens Bank parking lot along Eighth Avenue in Homestead on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. starting June 18 and continuing through Oct. 1.
The Rainbow Kitchen Farm Stand is run by a group of staff members and volunteers who distribute produce from Harvest Valley Farms, a fourth-generation family farm in Valencia.
“The Rainbow Kitchen Farm Stand offers a wide variety of wholesome, affordable, locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables,” executive director Donna Little said. “It provides an essential service by helping to ensure that low-income people have access to affordable fresh produce and it has been very well received in our community.”
The Pleasant Hills farmers market and the Homestead farm stand accept checks from the Allegheny County Health Department's Women, Infants and Children supplemental food program.
Women who are pregnant, breast-feeding or postpartum, and children ages 2-4 who are enrolled in the WIC program are eligible for checks worth $20 in free produce.
The checks are redeemable through Nov. 30 for Pennsylvania-grown fresh fruits and vegetables.
A full list of participating farmers markets and farm stands is available at www.achd.net/wic.
Some local sites include:
• Mon Yough Community Services Farm Stand at Market Street and Fifth Avenue in McKeesport. Open Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., June 18 through Nov. 19.
• 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., June 19 through Nov. 20.
• Olde World Produce at 1206 Route 51 in Jefferson Hills. Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., July through September.
• Century III Mall's Farmers Market along Route 885 behind the 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., June through October.
• Forest Hills Farmers Market at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church along Ardmore Boulevard. Open Fridays from 4-7 p.m., June through October.
• Hawkins Village Farm Stand at 500 Kenmawr Ave. in Rankin. Open Thursdays from 2-6 p.m., June 19 through Nov. 20.
• Grow Pittsburgh's Braddock Farms at the intersection of Sixth Street and Braddock Avenue. Open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., June through October.
• Monroeville Lions Club Farmers Market at 2399 Tillbrook Road in Monroeville Community Park. Open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon, June through November.
• 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., June 18 through Nov. 19.
In Westmoreland County, Irwin Business & Professional Association sponsors the Fourth Street Market in downtown Irwin every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon through October.
Christy Walters is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.