Friday, December 16, 2011

Winter Farmers' Markets Expand

The number of winter farmers markets is increasing. According to the updated National Farmers Market Directory, since 2010, the number of winter markets has increased 38 percent, from 886 to 1,225. These winter markets also account for nearly 17 percent of the nation's 7,222 operating farmers markets (Note: The reported number of farmers markets has been updated since August 2011).

Consumers are looking for more ways to buy locally grown food throughout the year. Through winter markets, American farmers are able to meet this need and bring in additional income to support their families and businesses.

Farmers markets operating at least once between November and March are considered winter farmers markets. The top 10 states for these markets are:

State - # of Winter Markets in 2011 - # of Winter Markets in 2010

1. New York 180 - 152
2. California 153  - 137
3. Pennsylvania 78 - 35
4. North Carolina 73 - 53
5. Ohio 50 - 34
6. Maryland 48 - 30
7. Florida 46 - 31
8. Massachusetts 43 - 30
9. Virginia* 40 - 21
10. Michigan* 33 - 19
* New to the top 10 list.

The expanded adoption of hoop house technology, which has enabled many smaller growers to extend their production seasons at low cost, has been a contributing factor to the growth of winter farmers markets. Hoop houses have allowed growers to produce locally-grown products for longer time periods and in colder climates.

USDA provides support to farmers markets through numerous programs, including AMS Specialty Crop Block Grants Program and Farmers Market Promotion Program. The agency also sponsors its own indoor farmers market during the winter months at USDA's headquarters in Washington, D.C. The market features local products such as fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, eggs, honey, herbs, handmade soaps, baked goods and more.

(Does anyone know how many winter farmers' markets there are in MO?  I don't but I'd sure like to know.  debi)

No comments:

Post a Comment