Farmers The Focus Of Start Of 30 Mile Meal Month

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Athens Farmers Market (photo: Sarah Hawley/Athens Messenger)

Supporting the local farmer is one part of the annual 30 Mile Meal month celebrated each July in Athens County.

The first part of the month is dedicated to the local farmer, as “Farmer Appreciation Week.”

For more than 40 years, local farmers have taken part in the Athens Farmers Market, bringing fresh produce to the area’s residents.

Each Saturday, and twice during the week, local farmers, artisans and vendors line up in the parking lot of The Market on State on East State Street.

Just about any kind of fresh produce, some baked goods, canned items and many other local items are available as shoppers from both near and far browse through the canopy lined booths.

Becky Rondy of Green Edge Organic Gardens in Amesville has been taking part in the market for 10 years.

Selling a variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers, Rondy was very busy on Saturday morning as she is most Saturdays.

“It varies with Saturday being the busiest day, the weekdays not as much,” said Rondy, noting that the weekday markets give her time to talk with the customers and those visiting the market.

“My favorite part is selling and being able to talk to people,” Rondy added.

Throughout the month of July, 30 Mile Meal is working to raise awareness about the local food economy and celebrating the rich traditions of local foods, farmers markets and farm-to-table restaurants within a 30-mile radius of the city of Athens.

The 30 Mile Meal is one of the nation’s first “super-local” food movements, and represents more than 140 farmers, markets, restaurants and specialty food partners in the region. The entire month of July is dedicated to celebrating these partners and their products, with each week showcasing a different theme and activities.

The 30 Mile Meal brand provides a shared identity for Athens’ many farmers, specialty food producers, retail markets, food events and independently owned eateries and bars featuring locally sourced menus.

The first portion of the month (July 1-12) is dedicated to the farmers, with “Farmer Appreciation.” This time is used to support area farmers and farmers markets by promoting and working to increase attendance at their weekly events. The Athens Farmers Market recently increased its weekly schedule to add a Thursday evening market.

Within 30 miles of Athens there are six farmers markets and the Chesterhill Produce Auction. Farmers markets are held each week in Athens, Nelsonville, Logan, New Lexington, Trimble Township and McArthur.

The Athens Farmers Market is held from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on Saturday and Wednesday. The new evening hours are held on Thursday from 4-7 p.m.

The Nelsonville Farmers Market is held every Saturday through October from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the parking lot adjacent to Stuart’s Opera House near the Nelsonville Public Square. Hours of the other farmers market can be found on the 30 Mile Meal Facebook page.

The 30 Mile Meal program was created in a partnership between the Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet). By helping residents and visitors find access to food sourced within a 30-mile radius of Athens, 30 Mile Meal supports the local economy.

Beginning Friday, 30 Mile Meal will spotlight the local craft beer industry alongside Ohio Brew Week, which runs through July 19. July 20-26 is Restaurant Week and 30 Mile Meal month will wrap up with a focus on locally sourced homemade recipes (July 27-31).

For information on 30 Mile Meal, including a full schedule for 30 Mile Meal Month, visit www.athensohio.com/30mile. You can also find 30 Mile Meal on Facebook.