Farmers at Phipps launched its 7th annual farmer's market Wednesday on Phipp's Conservatory’s front lawn. The market runs every Wednesday from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. through the end of October.
Phipps executive director Richard Piacentini said they've had "a tremendous turnout" in years past.
“The reception’s been great," he said. "We have a lot of regular people who come here every Wednesday and we have a lot of new people that show up all the time, and it’s just really great to see.”
Local vendors include Blackberry Meadows Farm in Natrona Heights, Brenckle’s Farm and Greenhouse with locations in Butler and Pittsburgh and Friendship Farms in Latrobe. Café Phipps, also included in the list of vendors, uses produce from Phipps’ own seasonal garden.
Piacentini said most of the others are based within an hour’s drive of Pittsburgh. Choices on produce help reinforce the importance of building relationships between local farmers and consumers, he said.
“I think it’s really great for people to get to be able to know farmers and the farmers get to know some of the people that are enjoying the products they produce,” he said.
The market also brings people to Phipps, he said.
“We’re all about connecting people with plants, and we’re really interested in the idea of living as sustainably as we can and really showing the important connections between people and plants,” he said. “And if you think about what is the most important way we interact with plants, it’s through the food we eat.”
All of the vendors’ products are certified organic or certified naturally grown (CNG). Organic certification requires several U.S. Department of Agriculture approvals, including the prohibition of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
CNG is generally much cheaper and a common option for smaller farms that sell at local venues like community farmers markets rather than large retail companies. Though not associated with the USDA, most requirements are the same, especially the ban of synthetic substances.
Piacentini said he hopes the farmer's market encourages people to be aware of their food choices and lead healthier lifestyles.
“Eating organic vegetables and eating fresh vegetables is a really smart thing that’s good for the environment," he said. "And it’s good for your own health.”