8-16-13natures-bounty-cover-2013By Eva Potter

Local farmer’s markets and u-pick farms are in full swing and their stalls are overflowing with fresh, locally grown produce like zucchini, corn, tomatoes, beans, eggplant, potatoes … and the list goes on. These places are tucked into all corners of the county and in between, so take advantage of this season’s healthy offerings.

Get to Know Your Local Farmer

The Ellicottville Farmers’ Market, which has served the area for over 20 years, is set up every Friday at 1–5 p.m. on the front lawn of the 1887 Building through the beginning of October. The actual number of vendors and products vary from week to week, but there is always a great selection of vegetables, fruits, as well as flowers, shrubs, honey, maple syrup, baked goods, and handmade crafts and clothing.

Instead of purchasing produce that travels in shipping containers for many miles over several days, you can purchase freshly harvested foods that haven’t lost many of their nutrients in transit.

Shopping at your local farmers’ market also helps support and strengthen the regional economy and the money goes directly back to the producer, while you save gas and improve your eating habits.

Other farmers markets in the county include: Franklinville, Wednesdays 3–6 p.m.; REAP’s Olean Market, Saturdays 8 a.m. –2 p.m.; Southern Tier Farmers Market in Olean, Fridays 2–7 p.m.; and Salamanca Farmers Market, Tuesdays 11 a.m. –

5 p m.

Pick it Yourself

It’s still blueberry season and there are plenty of u-pick places to visit. It makes for a fun and inexpensive family outing while introducing the kids to these candy-like, purple berries. A great resource for u-pick fruits and vegetables is www.pickyourown.org, which lists farm locations, recipes and lots of other helpful tips.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Don’t know what to do with your overabundance of green beans, zucchini, tomatoes and squash? Check out Liz Bares’ “Simply Food” column below, for some great, creative cooking tips.