After months of watching the skies, fretting over temperatures, rain and some wins and losses, area farmers are beginning to reap what they’ve sown. Backyard gardeners and commercial producers alike only now are harvesting the early fruits of their labors, and making those fresh vegetables available for the rest of us to enjoy.

We’re very lucky here in Indiana. You can hardly throw a rock without hitting a farm stand in the summer. Our soils and environment mean an unbeatable variety of vegetables to choose from. And the Kokomo Farmers’ Market is a robust offering, where you can buy food prepared with the freshest ingredients available or take some home to make yourself.

The abundance only lasts so long. When tomatoes or summer squash are ready to be picked, they demand attention. No one grows extra vegetables to see them waste away. Americans have gotten used to having access to every fruit and vegetable known to man at all times of the year, and our grocery stores are there to make sure we have everything we desire, whenever we want it. That means in some cases fresh produce is making tremendous treks before reaching our dinner plate.

Across the nation, consumers are turning away from processed and packaged foods in favor of fresh ingredients and control over what’s in what we eat. Choosing to buy local produce from local farmers is a natural progression from that, and it’s so easy.

Make a plan to visit the farmer’s market in your town this Saturday. Stop by the farm stand you pass on your way home later this month and next and get some sweet corn. You may never want to buy sweet corn from the grocery store again.

For those gardeners who have so much they can’t give it away, you can give it away. Consider donating your extra produce to Kokomo Urban Outreach so that organization may distribute fresh vegetables to those in need. You can take your donations to the food pantry at 1708 S. Home Ave. The Kokomo Rescue Mission also accepts donations of fresh foods at 321 W. Mulberry St.

Let’s support the local food movement by buying what our local farmers are producing. It not only keeps money in our local economy, but means we are making healthy choices as a community.

Kokomo Tribune editorial board

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