The sights and smells of fresh produce will fill the air of several of our local communities beginning this week as a series of farmers' markets kick off throughout the Northern Panhandle.
The markets, put together by the West Virginia University Extension, provide local residents a chance to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and other items, and give some exposure for those in our region who grow the produce.
One of the requirements to take part in the farmers' markets, after all, is that the produce must be grown within 50 miles of the market site.
The first market began in Weirton on Monday, and will be located at the Goodwill parking lot each Monday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. until Oct. 29. A second Weirton market will begin Thursday, also from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the new Weirton Event Center. This market will be available through Oct. 25.
Farmers' markets will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Follansbee and Wellsburg on July 18 and 25, respectively, and will take place on alternating Wednesdays.
The Follansbee market will be held at the Ray Stoaks Plaza and the Wellsburg event will be outside the Unity Apartments.
These markets join the downtown Steubenville farmers' market, which begins at 8 a.m. every Thursday at the old Grant School site on South Fourth Street, and the Farmers' Gateway Market, which is held from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday in the parking lot at Eastern Gateway Community College.
We have many residents in the Tri-State Area who have their own farms, growing their own produce, baking their own breads or making their own jams and jellies.
This is a craft and lifestyle handed through families for generations and deserves to be preserved for years to come. Farmers' markets such as the ones we have in the Ohio Valley show that agriculture is still thriving in many ways and deserves to be supported.
We urge our residents to attend some of these farmers' markets this year and show your support for our local farmers.
Buy from them, learn about their way of life, and help them to continue to thrive.