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The Lake News Online
  • Osage Beach Farmers Market brings fresh foods from local farmers

  • While most Missourians hunkered down through an especially bitter winter, wondering whether they would ever see anything green again, determined farmers throughout the region were coaxing verdant sprouts in shallow flats—already preparing for a new market season.
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  • While most Missourians hunkered down through an especially bitter winter, wondering whether they would ever see anything green again, determined farmers throughout the region were coaxing verdant sprouts in shallow flats—already preparing for a new market season.
    On Saturday, May 3, Osage Beach Farmers Market once again hosted many of these farmers, food producers, and artisans, in the first of many market days.
    Mark Zickefoose runs Bear Hollow Farms; he has been with Osage Beach Farmers Market from the beginning. Zickefoose says his farm has no “off-season.” In November and December, green onions, salad greens, turnips and radishes are sown in the warmth of his high tunnel (greenhouse). By January, he’s sowing beets and carrots, and he starts seeds for later-season plants.
    For other farmers, like Bill Clarke at Osage Prairie Bison, winter can be especially busy, from feeding hay to ensuring livestock have access to water in frigid temperatures.
    Divine Scents Soap Company sells hand-crafted soap and bath products at the market, and owner RuthAnn Matthews says her offseason has been busy as she developed new products including liquid soap, deodorant, and a sugar scrub. Matthews says she is also teaming up with a non-profit organization, Loving Soap Project, which teaches women how to make soap in underdeveloped countries. She will be focusing on bringing soapmaking to orphanages in Honduras with the goal of reducing hygiene-related sickness, with all proceeds from one line of Divine Scents products helping fund that project.
    Now in its third year, Osage Beach Farmers Market is located at Stone Crest Mall, behind Starbucks, and is held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday from May through October.
    New to the market this year is the “Li’l Locavores” kids club. Market Manager Nathan Bechtold explains the club is open to children ages 6–12 and is a way of teaching them where food comes from and how it’s grown. Every week, “Li’l Locavores” will stamp a Market Passport when they show up at the market. If they attend more than 50 percent of the markets for the season, they’ll receive a prize on the last day in October. Li’l Locavores will also receive $2 in wooden coins every week to spend at the market. And every market day will feature a fun kids’ activity focusing on food and farming.
    While kids join in Li’l Locavore fun, Bechtold says parents can browse for what’s fresh. “Almost every week, you find something new,” he said. “Because all this food is raised locally, you get the chance to practice ‘seasonal eating.’ So you’re not going to find blueberries in October. But when you buy them at the market in June, they’re so fresh, and then when they’re done, something else is starting to produce.”
    Page 2 of 2 - He says that, while it may be impractical for most people to truly eat “seasonally,” making the choice to buy what is locally in season helps the local economy and the food system. “You’re reducing how much stuff gets shipped in from all over the place. That kind of system is just unsustainable,” he said, pointing to one study that estimates: “the average American meal travels about 1,500 miles from farm to plate.” (http://www.cuesa.org/learn/how-far-does-your-food-travel-get-your-plate)
    At Osage Beach Farmers Market, every food item must have been grown, raised, or produced within a 100-mile radius of the market.
    “That means the tomato you’re eating was probably picked last night,” Bechtold said. “And you can taste the difference.”
    Find out more at www.osagebeachfarmersmarket.com.

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