Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Meet the people behind your produce at the farmer’s market

Fall is arriving soon here in Pittsburgh, and with it comes the Market Square Farmers Market. Every Thursday, Market Square is filled with live performances, small businesses, and food. The main attraction, however, is the farmers who bring their home-grown and fresh produce. 

Farmers within a 70 to 150-mile radius bring a variety of products such as corn, tomatoes and mushrooms. But why should a customer invest in something locally grown instead of pre-packaged produce? While store-bought produce may contain hormones, GMOs and other preservatives, local farming is often fresher and garners more traditionally grown produce.

Kendall Koehn, 28, is the owner of Alpha Farms Produce, located in Homeworth, Ohio. He shared how his products are grown for their freshness and flavor, not for shipping.

“Our stuff wouldn’t ship very well because it is tender, it’s juicy, it’s flavorful,” Koehn said. 

Nontraditional farmer John Jackson, 42, also sells his wares at the Farmers Market. He’s from the North Side of Pittsburgh and harvests mushrooms for a business called Real Fungi located in Pittsburgh. While Real Fungi does grow a few products, that is not what they specialize in.

“Everything that we have comes from either the forest in a pristine setting and didn’t require any pesticides, fertilizers or any of that sort,” Jackson said. “What we do grow breaks down wood products and turns them into food, protein.”

With all the foot traffic, how does the farmer’s market affect sales? Mary Windstein, 66, works for José Quiroz Farms, which resides in Salem, Ohio. The market is the main source of income for the farm.

“When I first started working for José, he had three markets in the Pittsburgh area,” Windstein said.

Quiroz was interested in expanding and enlisted Mary to look for new locations to sell at.

“I started looking around and now we do Tuesday, Wednesday, two on Thursdays, Friday, Saturday, and he does have one on Sunday in Cleveland,” Windstein said.

Kevin Seklecki, 46, is a fellow worker of José Quiroz Farms. They pride themselves on their produce.

“It’s grown locally and with minimal chemicals only used when necessary and brought to the market very quickly,” Seklecki said.

The Farmers Market provides a sense of community to downtown Pittsburgh. The atmosphere creates a “ripple” effect around Market Square. People may visit chain or local restaurants in the square but become immersed in the market and vice versa. It helps bring customers to stores such as Starbucks or Chipotle. The Farmers Market attracts business to every vendor in the square.

If you buy locally not only will your produce be clean, fresh, and better tasting, but you will be supporting the local economy.

The Farmers Market is open every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until October 26.

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