HOMEGROWN NUTRITION: Farmers market preps for 2013

COLUMBIA CITY — It’s the middle of winter, but vendors are already preparing for Whitley County’s Farmers Market that will open in the spring.With fresh produce, baked good and crafts, the market is preparing for some possible new features to draw in larger crowds.Chris Lilly, the market master, will be attending a conference in February centered on preparing markets to accept SNAP Benefits.The government food assistance program would allow market shoppers to purchase foods from vendors using their SNAP Benefits.Currently, Whitley County’s market accepts food stamps if vendors choose to participate.According to Lilly vendors aren’t out any extra expense for accepting the vouchers, but in the end, it benefits families and individuals.Recognizing the benefits of fresh produce and small-farm purchases hits home for Lilly. After working in a foundry, Lilly started a small farm to have the luxury of growing and raising the food his family consumes.He attributes his rejuvenated health to the chemical-free process used on his crops and with his animals.Whitley County’s Farmers Market will open for the season May 4 on the Courthouse Square. An estimated 55 vendors are slated to participate in this year’s market.For a more in-depth look at this story, see the Jan. 21 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.