Farmers’ market ready to go for another season in downtown Tyrone

An annual Tyrone tradition is set to get started again on Wednesday.
The downtown farmers’ market will be held on Logan Avenue near 10th Street. The weekly event will feature many of the same vendors folks have grown used to seeing. Sharon Way of Way Fruit Farm said the farmers’ market would feature the same vendors as last year. In addition to produce from Way Farm, Judy Brumbaugh will have baked goods and there will be other produce available including food from Amish farmers and other vendors.
Way said her farm will have strawberries available for tomorrow’s first day. She noted the farmers’ market runs each Wednesday through the last Wednesday in October from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Last year, Sharon’s husband Brooks summed up why people should visit the farmers’ market by saying “It’s a good time to come visit your neighbor and help your local farmer.”
Also, once again this year, Blair Senior Services will be helping seniors who want to take advantage of the farmers’ markets in the area. The agency is administering the Senior Citizen Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) in Blair County for 2006.
The Daily Herald previously reported the program issues checks for income-eligible older adults to exchange for fruits and vegetables at local farmers’ markets. The 2006 program started on June 1. Checks must be picked up by September 30, 2006 (last Agency business day is September 29) and used by November 30, 2006.
Individuals are encouraged to pick up their checks at their earliest convenience due to the program’s popularity. The program allows each eligible individual to receive four $5 checks, for a total of $20 per person. The checks must be used to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables at specified locations. If a check is used to make a purchase of less than $5, the bearer of the check is not entitled to change; however, individuals will be required to pay the difference for purchases that exceed the face value of the checks. It is advised that participants be prepared to spend the entire $5 check when they visit a market. Checks must be endorsed only in the presence of farmers’ market personnel.
To be eligible to receive a check, you must be 60 years of age or over, a resident of Blair County and have a total income for 2005 of $18,130 or under for an individual or $24,420 or under for a couple. Proof of age and residency, such as a driver’s license or photo ID, are required.
Checks will be distributed at seven of the nine senior centers on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. and on all weekdays at the Blair Senior Service Center in downtown Altoona. If you wish, you may register for a meal at any of the senior centers and get your checks at the same time. For more information, call Blair Senior Services’ Intake staff at 946-1235.
Checks, and a list of participating area farmers’ markets will be available at the Blair Senior Service Center, 1320 Twelfth Avenue, Altoona Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and at the Bellwood, Claysburg, Duncansville, Martinsburg, Roaring Spring, Tyrone and Williamsburg Senior Community Centers on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Center schedules vary to accommodate planned activities and events, so contact the center you plan to visit to confirm that it will be open on a specific day.
Although popular in Tyrone for the last two decades, smaller and rural communities aren’t the only place where farmers’ markets can be found.
Last year, The Associated Press reported farmers’ markets were finding fertile ground in big cities and small towns. The U.S. Agriculture Department said farmers markets had doubled over a ten-year period.
The AP report said the growing popularity of the markets is attributed to a number of factors: less tolerance for bland meat and produce some consumers associate with big factory farms; more demand for the just-picked freshness and nutrition of locally grown food; increased awareness about supporting local economies; and health and environmental concerns about the use of antibiotics and pesticides.