Bundle up kiddies, there's free oranges to be had

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C'mon, brave the cold to support your local farmers

Do you like fresh, local food? Do you like fresh, local, free food? Well then you're in luck, because a farmer's market near you is making it easy to support the former while recieving the latter. Lemme break down the why and wherefore of this phenomenon.

Name a business establishment that has trouble making it during the winter months (choose one):
a. Ice cream shops
b. Convertible dealers
c. Farmer's markets
d. All of the above

Yup, you got it. "Febuary is definitely the seasonal ebb. This is the time we want to see market shoppers come out, rain or shine," says Christine Farren, administrative and events manager of the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. Apparently, the whole lap-around-the-stalls-with-your-Chico-bag isn't quite as appealing when the weather is sub fifty and giving itself over to drizzle danger. This is trouble for those of us who enjoy having healthy, hearty, locally grown veggies at our fingertips- farmer's markets need year round support to stay open year round.

Luckily, the powers that be are making it palatable for you to do the right thing. Starting this week, CUESA is offering a free item from the stalls for the first 50 shoppers at the Ferry Building farmer's market on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This Tuesday was the offer's kick-off, which Farren says went over well. "It's hard to say whether it increased the turnout at the market since we don't have a turnstile or anything like that... but we ran out of the coupons (for the free lacinto kale, ka-ching!) by noon."

The free items are chosen based on their versatility and price point suitability, and at today's Thursday market, the prize is Fukumoto navel oranges from Tory Farms, whose bright burst of citrus is just the thing to reward you for braving the winter doldrums. Info on the next free nutrional boost is available on CUESA's Twitter feed. Ample reason to unhand that Safeway cart and get to steppin'.

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See these Fuyumoto navel oranges? Say no more, right?

Ferry Plaza farmer's market
year round Tues, Thurs 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Sat 8 a.m.-2 p.m., free
1 Ferry Building, SF
(415) 291-3276
www.cuesa.org

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