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Fresh ways to save some green at the farmers market

The Free Press WV

The difference between the produce at farmers markets and supermarkets is more than “tomayto” versus “tomahto.” And buying fresh fruit and vegetables at farmers markets offers opportunities to save money in ways you might not find at a grocery store.

The produce sold at most supermarkets is typically harvested before it’s ripe, says Chris Curtis, executive director of Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets. Then it’s transported — often long distances — before arriving at the store. The many people involved in getting a tomato from the vine to the store and, finally, into your tote may get a slice of your payment, she says. That doesn’t leave much for the farmer.

When you buy a tomato at a farmers market, however, “almost all of your dollar is going directly to the grower,” Curtis says. That grower picked the produce ripe, soon before selling it. A recently harvested peach tastes better than that “hard little green ball” sold at large retailers, she says.

HOW TO SAVE MONEY AT FARMERS MARKETS

Here’s how to get the most for your money when buying produce and other farmers market goods:

1. GET TO KNOW THE VENDORS. Many vendors give deals to folks they know, says Gabrielle Lupton, a baker at Bubble & Brown Bakery, which sells goods at Salt Lake City farmers markets. To build that kind of relationship with a vendor, become a regular. Consistently buy from that seller and turn to her for bulk and special orders, like a custom cake from a baker.

In addition to scoring deals — and maybe even a friendship — becoming a regular gives you “an inside scoop on the variability of the season,” says Nina Gruber, outreach and development coordinator for Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets. For example, you may be among the first customers to know when farmers will start selling peaches, she says. You may also learn when peach prices are expected to change with supply and demand throughout the season.

2. BUY “UGLY” PRODUCE. “Seconds” or “No. 2s” are fruits and vegetables that taste the same as other produce but look a little off — they may be misshapen or bumpy, for example. Farmers typically sell them more cheaply than the perfect-looking produce. “It’s something farmers have been doing since the dawn of farmers markets,” Gruber says.

Get a deal on seconds and you’re not just saving money — you’re also helping to reduce food waste . Even if you prefer eating or serving flawless produce, you can follow Gruber’s lead and use seconds for cooking, baking and making jam. She buys a box of No. 2 tomatoes, then cooks and freezes batches of pasta sauce. “Then I have sauce for the rest of the year,” she says.

3. PAY IN CASH. Access to a credit or debit card — and dozens of freshly baked pastries — can put your grocery budget in danger. Lupton says that customers paying with a card typically outspend those who use cash. Consider bringing cash, spending a set amount and leaving your cards at home. (This is a reliable money-saving tip for most kinds of shopping trips.)

4. SHOP LATE. Vendors don’t want to be stuck with unsold inventory so “they’ll start slinging deals toward the end of the day,” Gruber says. For example, in the final 30 minutes the market is open, you may be able to snag a bag of apples for half the price you would have paid first thing in the morning.

The tradeoff is that there will be a smaller selection of products at the end of the day, Gruber says.

5. GET DISCOUNTS ON BULK PURCHASES. Remember, vendors want to offload as much of their product as possible. So they’re incentivized to cut a deal if you’re interested in buying a lot of it, Lupton says. Ask vendors what prices they can offer for the quantity you want, such as a dozen cookies or two pounds of potatoes. They may throw in a few extra potatoes or charge you less for a batch of cookies than they would have for 12 individual treats.

Hawaii Volcano Finds a Way to Get Worse

The Free Press WV

A volcano that is oozing, spewing, and exploding on Hawaii’s Big Island has gotten more hazardous in recent days, with a river of molten rock flowing into the ocean and flying lava causing the first major injury, the AP reports. Kilauea volcano began erupting more than two weeks ago and has burned dozens of homes, forced people to flee, and shot up plumes of steam from its summit that led officials to distribute face masks to protect against ash particles. Lava flows have grown more vigorous in past days, spattering molten rock that hit a man in the leg. He was outside his home Saturday in the remote, rural region affected by the volcano when the lava “hit him on the shin, and shattered everything from there down on his leg,“ says a Hawaii County mayor spokeswoman.

Lava that’s flying through the air from cracks in the Earth can weigh as much as a refrigerator and even small pieces can be lethal, officials say. The injury came the same day lava streamed across a highway and flowed into the ocean. The phenomenon sends hydrochloric acid and steam with glass particles into the air and can lead to lung, eye, and skin irritation, another danger for residents as the plume can shift with the wind, the Hawaii County Civil Defense agency says. The highway has shut down in some spots, and residents in the area have been evacuated. With the problems compounding, scientists can’t say whether lava flows from nearly two dozen fissures will keep advancing or stop.

WV 2018 spring turkey harvest

The Free Press WV

According to preliminary data gathered by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, turkey hunters in West Virginia harvested 12,274 gobblers this spring, which is a 15-year high and a 6 percent increase over 2017.

This year’s harvest also is more than 10 percent above the 10-year average, said Mike Peters, Game Bird and Small Game Project Leader for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

All but two DNR districts reported an increase over 2017 harvest figures. Districts 4 and 5 were the only two districts with fewer harvested birds this year. Counties in District 1 harvested the most birds again this year with 3,416, followed by District 6 (2,651), District 5 (1,811), District 4 (1,515), District 3 (1,805) and District 2 (1,076).

The five counties with the largest harvest were Preston (553), Mason (468), Jackson (460), Harrison (440) and Marshall (417).

Youth hunters harvested 431 turkeys during the one-day youth season on April 14.

Those numbers, along with county totals, are included in the table below.

West Virginia Spring Gobbler Season Results

County

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Barbour

178

127

165

204

250

Brooke

84

67

78

100

174

Hancock

110

89

98

106

87

Harrison

264

247

286

327

440

Marion

149

170

192

256

330

Marshall

220

174

207

255

417

Monongalia

174

199

197

266

346

Ohio

91

109

111

113

145

Preston

344

333

371

475

553

Taylor

87

72

101

135

189

Tucker

88

82

90

97

89

Wetzel

203

168

196

244

396

District 1 Subtotal

 1,992

 1,837

     2,092

   2,578

    3,416

Berkeley

112

124

115

147

162

Grant

129

131

161

145

160

Hampshire

138

156

170

184

166

Hardy

135

116

132

132

150

Jefferson

57

82

79

114

115

Mineral

96

118

134

132

148

Morgan

62

64

54

64

64

Pendleton

95

94

88

112

111

District 2 Subtotal

     824

    885

         933

   1,030

    1,076

Braxton

175

194

197

209

307

Clay

68

83

101

120

142

Lewis

180

194

211

249

286

Nicholas

164

213

330

311

287

Pocahontas

130

145

144

143

113

Randolph

186

225

250

248

207

Upshur

229

231

228

303

334

Webster

113

114

156

150

129

District 3 Subtotal

 1,245

 1,399

     1,617

   1,733

    1,805

Fayette

244

239

292

278

247

Greenbrier

245

242

308

269

224

McDowell

215

218

200

177

132

Mercer

170

161

176

192

150

Monroe

212

181

184

192

182

Raleigh

214

231

283

279

213

Summers

209

199

219

209

170

Wyoming

255

257

320

262

197

District 4 Subtotal

 1,764

 1,728

     1,982

   1,858

    1,515

Boone

159

138

157

157

125

Cabell

80

110

114

176

125

Kanawha

231

227

285

319

308

Lincoln

178

169

215

228

158

Logan

181

172

181

165

157

Mason

293

314

378

448

468

Mingo

93

91

131

143

106

Putnam

150

181

210

268

235

Wayne

103

108

139

186

129

District 5 Subtotal

 1,468

 1,510

     1,810

   2,090

    1,811

Calhoun

135

128

145

164

190

Doddridge

126

118

137

160

216

Gilmer

147

124

132

143

170

Jackson

293

264

302

408

460

Pleasants

73

71

80

89

122

Ritchie

245

218

216

263

327

Roane

232

210

231

256

279

Tyler

136

144

182

181

250

Wirt

177

153

174

206

230

Wood

271

248

328

380

407

District 6 Subtotal

 1,835

 1,678

     1,927

   2,250

    2,651

State Total

 9,128

 9,037

   10,361

 11,539

  12,274

West Virginia Officials to Show Off 50 Elk Caught in Arizona

The Free Press WV

Officials in West Virginia are set to introduce 50 elk that were captured in Arizona.

Governor Jim Justice and the state Division of Natural Resources are scheduled to hold a ceremony Tuesday at the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area near Logan.

The governor’s office says in a news release the elk have been in a 5-acre holding pen since March to comply with federal disease testing guidelines.

The pen is on reclaimed coal mine property, where grasslands have been cultivated and are considered key for sustaining elk.

They’ll join 35 other elk previously acquired from Kentucky’s Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.

The elk from Kentucky were first reintroduced in West Virginia in December 2016.

Before that, elk herds hadn’t roamed the state since 1875.

Officials are touting the elk’s potential to help tourism.

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