The end of spring and the start of summer signals the return of an annual rite to communities around the Tri-State Area.
Farmers' markets are back, and that means residents will again have the opportunity to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from area growers. The events also offer a pleasant place to spend a day or a part of the evening, relaxing with friends and family and enjoying the outdoors.
Many of the markets also offer the opportunity to purchase baked goods, crafts and other items from vendors who are part of the experience.
The season gets under way Wednesday, when the Farmers' Gateway Market returns to the parking lot of Eastern Gateway Community College. Selling hours at the market, which will be held Wednesdays through Oct. 3, will run from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Downtown Steubenville's farmers' market returns Thursday with a different location and new hours. The weekly market, which will run Thursday's through October, will be back on South Third Street, between the City Building and Historic Fort Steuben. Hours of operation for the market have been changed to 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Markets also will be held in other communities around the area, as this sampling demonstrates:
A farmers' market will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Monday from July 9 through October in the Goodwill parking lot on Penco Road in Weirton.
The Weirton Events Center off Cove Road will be home to a farmers' market from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Thursday from July 12 through October.
In Follansbee, the farmers' market will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every other Wednesday outside the Follansbee City Building on state Route 2 from July 18 through October.
And in Wellsburg, a farmers' market will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every other Wednesday from July 25 through October outside of the Unity Apartments on state Route 2.
The markets offer pluses on many levels. First, they give residents the chance to enjoy the nutritional benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables. Second, they offer area farmers a chance to sell their products locally.
We hope that residents from all parts of the Tri-State Area will take some time from their hectic schedules and plan to relax a little by visiting a farmers' market.