Friday, March 30, 2012 – SPRINGFIELD, MO. – Kick-off the start of spring gardening with a trip to the Farmers Market of the Ozarks (FMO) to learn more about growing your own garden and ways to shop local for your family’s Easter meal.  Farmers Market of the Ozarks will celebrate its Opening Day and Spring Gardening Kick-Off Event on April 7, from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at Republic Road and James River Freeway, next to Houlihan’s.

Over 60 booths will offer the community farm and artisan crafted products and provide families with the opportunity to purchase local food products from regional farmers for their upcoming Easter holiday meals.

“Our market is a gathering place for the community to come and meet their local producers,” explained Market Manager Lane McConnell.  “Local chefs will be cooking locally inspired meals that families can prepare with products purchased from market.”

Cooking demonstrations will start at 9:00 a.m. and will provide the community with a taste of market freshness.  Demonstrations from Chef Rob Corliss of All Things Epicurean (ATE), Bill Griffiths of Farmers Gastropub, Mercy Health and Mama Jean’s Natural Food Market will all follow the Easter-theme.

Not only will market provide a culinary influence, but FMO will focus on helping neighbors throughout the Ozarks with partnering with the Ozarks Food Harvest (OFH) and Harvest on Wheels (HOW).  A collection point with volunteers will be set-up to take in canned food items and/or cash donations for distribution to the hungry by OFH.  In addition, HOW will provide free seeds to anyone willing to “plant an extra row” for future crop donation.  OFH provides food and services to 300 agencies in 28 counties of southwest Missouri.

“Our market focuses on the Ozarks – our people, our products, and our helping hands,” said McConnell.  “Local food is at the heart of the market and community, therefore FMO strives to provide access to fresh and nutritious food throughout the region.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. to celebrate the opening of the market, followed by a media tour of vendor stalls and events for the day.  Musical entertainment starts at 10:00 a.m. and runs through 1:00 p.m. with music from Dallas Jones, Brother Wiley, and Rowan’s Crossing.

Other special activities planned for the day include basket making demonstrations, story reading corner and face painting for children, a Growing Together Youth Station sponsored by SUAC/DIRT, White Harvest Seed Company booth, Mercy Health dietician booth, Food C.O.R.E., and Pysanky (Urkrainian Easter eggs) painting demonstration.


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