HAHRC BEATS:Enjoying the bounty from local farmers markets

Your local farmers market is the best place to source all of the bounty grown, raised and produced here in the Gorge. Of course you can find fresh peaches, berries, carrots and tomatoes, but the harvests from the Gorge region also include fresh salmon fillets, lamb, freshly baked breads, artisan cheeses, steaks and much more!

We are fortunate to live in a community served by several markets that funnel the harvests from the farm to our plates. You can meet the wonderfully talented and dedicated producers that grow, raise and prepare the freshest foods of the Gorge every week at the Gorge Grown Farmers Market on Thursdays at the Hood River Middle School and at the Hood River Saturday Market downtown.

Farmers markets grow in popularity each year and are an important force in rebuilding our local economy.

In 2012 over $400,000 was spent at Gorge markets and for 2013, market managers have set a goal of over $1 million in total sales. Farmers markets grow when you buy your groceries there week after week. Loyal customers build enticing demand that allows farmers to make a living doing what they do best — feeding nutritious food to local families. Every dollar you spend on local food is a vote for a vibrant regional food system because the money you spend on local food stays in the local economy, and directly supports the farmers.

It is important that our markets go the extra mile to make sure farmers markets are accessible to everyone in the community. Many vendors accept WIC vouchers and at the Gorge Grown Farmers Market, there is a “SNAP incentive” program.

Thanks to business sponsorships, every shopper using a food stamp card is given extra money in tokens (up to $5 each week) to help them enjoy the finest and freshest foods found in the Gorge.

Finally, food donations collected to support FISH Food bank complete the circle to be sure we are all able to eat nutritious and locally sourced meals. We can all benefit from the high nutritional values of the incredible bounty from our local farms!

Exciting ideas are brewing for ways to expand the market offerings in Hood River County for 2014. Gorge Grown is working with the Port to build a market structure down in the Port to allow year-round operations and a new market with a Hispanic focus is being planned for Odell.

Every time you buy local, you ensure that our diverse population of food producers will thrive and grow and these new market developments will succeed. If we focus on “Local Food First” we can all enjoy delicious foods all year long.

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Healthy Active Hood River County (HAHRC) is our community healthy living coalition. We promote wellness through increased physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco use prevention and policy and environmental change. Join us at our next meeting Sept. 10, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Hood River Aquatic Center meeting room.

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Todd Dierker is co-director of the Gorge Grown Food Network.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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