Longing for farmers market season?

It's about this time of year that I start hearing from the early-bird farmers market organizers, telling me when their market is going to happen this season, and it gives me a little pang, because it's still going to be a while before the local markets start opening.

But here's one that can help us make it through the rest of the winter: There's an indoor Spring Market from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 23, at Juniper Village, an assisted living facility in Forest Hills.

So notes organizer and shiatsu massage practitioner Elizabeth Donohoe, who says this is the fourth such off-season market, which was started last February, born out of a realization that "after the traditional farmers markets are finished, small-scale, local producers of food/veggies and/or those who make value-added natural food-based products have few places to sell their wares. At the same time, the growing number of customers who have come to recognize the many benefits of eating/buying real food are at a loss to find what they came to love at the weekly markets in the summertime."

The previous three she held in her Forest Hills home. This time, there's more room. Vendors are to include:

• Her Bold Farm, selling organic winter vegetables, homemade breads, eggs and chocolates

• Flower & Bee Honey (honey, infusions, skin-care products)

• MoTeasa Tea Blends (handcrafted teas)

• DJ's Butcher Block (artisanal sausages)

• MyGoodies Bakery (vegan baked goods)

• Love Heals (natural skin-care products)

• M & M Robertson's Farm (heirloom seeds, garden tools, books)

• Full Circle Soils (compost)

• Najat's Cuisine (Lebanese food)

Ms. Donohoe says she might organize another such market but not until closer to the Christmas holidays. "I see this as a way to support people in the off-season."

Another indoor farmers-market-like experience can be had next month when the seventh Farm to Table conference sets up inside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown, on March 22-23. That Friday night, there's a Local Food Tasting ($25). The theme of it all is "Do It Yourself." Learn more at http://farmtotablepa.com.

Bob Batz Jr.: bbatz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1930 and on Twitter @bobbatzjr.


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