Health Department Partners With Pines Farmers Market

BERLIN – Officials from the Worcester County Health Department are hoping to increase healthy eating practices with tours of local farmers markets.

On May 16, the health department will host its first farmers market tour at the Ocean Pines Farmers Market.

“We’re committed to raising awareness,” said Crystal Bell, chronic disease and tobacco prevention supervisor for the health department. “One of the things we decided to do is provide farmers market tours. This is an easy way to promote health eating.”

The Ocean Pines Farmers Market Tour will be hosted May 16 at 3 p.m. at the market in White Horse Park. Dietician Kathy Wool, who also leads the grocery store tours the health department offers, will provide attendees with a tour of the market. She’ll talk about the array of fresh produce available, how to prepare fresh fruits and vegetables and how to choose healthy meal options. Bell said that by educating the public regarding the importance of eating well, the health department aimed to reduce the occurrence of chronic diseases.

“It’s bringing awareness and linking people to healthier resources,” Bell said.

David Bean, market manager in Ocean Pines, is excited about the market’s partnership with the health department.

“I met Kathy Wool last fall when the marketplace appeared on a ‘Get Out and Walk’ video produced by the department,” Bean said. “Our shared vision was to provide an informative way for shoppers to learn more about what’s at the marketplace, and provide healthy eating information and menu planning ideas.”

Bean said that during the tour participants would be able to meet the people at the various stands and learn about their products and where they’re grown. They’ll also talk about how those fruits and vegetables can be used in meal planning. The session, which is on a Wednesday afternoon, will also highlight the Ocean Pines Farmers Market’s new weekday session.

While the market has been held on Saturday for years, this year organizers decided to open it an additional day, Wednesday, to give more people the chance to take advantage of it.

“This additional market day allows for shoppers to enjoy more of the fresh produce while it’s in season during the summer and early fall growing seasons,” Bean said. “Additionally, many visitors to the resort arrive after our closing time on Saturdays, and many locals must work on the weekends. Now these folks can shop at the Wednesday market.  Some also find the 3-7 p.m. hours attractive.”

While the May 16 market stroll in Ocean Pines is the only one scheduled so far, Bean said he’s hopeful that more will be held at the Pines market throughout the summer. Bell said the health department was willing to offer tours at markets throughout the county. For more information call the health department at 410-632-1100.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.