There are many sites and sounds to the fall, including the experience of attending local farmer’s markets. Three Miami East FFA members are taking advantage of the opportunity to share their hard work and talents with Troy residents each Saturday from 9 to noon on Cherry Street at the Troy Farmer’s Market coordinated by Main Street Troy.
Senior Sarah Pyers is selling her chrysanthemum flowers in a variety of colors. “The flowers are just starting to bloom so my customers will experience the full color,” says Pyers. She purchased small plants, plugs, at the beginning of the summer and potted them in individual pots. Through plenty of water, fertilizer, and timely pruning, she has large and bloom-full plants. Pyers adds, “I don’t have of space at my house and this is a project that I can do in my backyard.” Pyers plans on applying for the State FFA Degree and completing a state proficiency award application.
Sophomore Chris Teaford planted more than 80 tomato plants in his family’s garden with the plans to sell his produce to family and friends. “I enjoy the chance to meet new customers. I have a lot of tomatoes and don’t want them to go to waste” shares Teaford. Teaford has a variety of tomato varieties and is accepting cash donations for his harvest. “I researched methods on how to raise tomatoes and used a fence and string method to help stake up my tomatoes so I may reduce spoilage and allow all the fruit to ripen on the vein.” Teaford will be applying for a state FFA proficiency award in the future.
Lauren Williams is a junior and experienced farmer’s market participant. Known as the “Basil Girl” because of her baggies of fresh basil she offers, she has also expanded her products to include soy-based lip balm, bar-b-que sauce, and buckeye necklaces. “I love farmer’s markets. I love seeing locally-grown, farmer-owned businesses offering their product to local residents,” said Williams. Williams enjoyed farmer markets so much that she is now the intern for the Troy Farmer’s Market. “I encourage everyone to come see what we FFA members and all the vendors have to offer,” shared Williams. Williams won the 2012 Ohio FFA Vegetable proficiency award. She plans to apply again in the future.
Each FFA member is required to have a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) program as continued education beyond their agriculture classes at Miami East High School. The SAE allows FFA members to learn through hands-on experiences and financially gain from their entrepreneurship involvement. Members are encouraged to be engaged and involved in the agriculture industry throughout and beyond their years in high school.
It is the mission of the Downtown Troy Farmers’ Market to enhance and promote local farmers and businesses in order to encourage local buying of their products. The farmer’s market experience also helps FFA members at Miami East High School gain experience and reach success. The weekly farmers market will continue through September 15.