Let’s hear it for the resolve of farmers and those of us who wish to eat good food all year long. I just found this post on the USDA website - and am happy to report that there are several thriving Winter Farmers Markets in my area. If you live in one of the States mentioned or know that your area indeed has a Winters Farmers Market, please spread the word to family and friends.
Embrace your seasonal fruits and vegetables!
USDA Highlights Nearly 900 Operating Winter Farmers Markets; Many Markets Located in Cold-Weather States
WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2010 – With winter on its way, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today that its National Farmers Market Directory http://apps.ams.usda.gov/FarmersMarkets lists 898 winter farmers markets across the country, accounting for more than 14 percent of the nation’s 6,132 operating farmers markets and extending opportunities for consumers to access locally grown food.
“Fresh, local, and healthful food isn’t just a good weather offering,” said David Shipman, Acting Administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. “Clearly in many places, winter markets are hot despite the cold weather. Even in states where the traditional growing season is short, the market season is long. This allows more small and local farmers to continue bringing in income for their families and their businesses, while also providing great, nutritious food to communities year round.”
Farmers markets are considered winter farmers markets if they operate between November and March. The top 11 states for these markets are: New York (153), California (140), North Carolina (53), Florida (45), Pennsylvania (42), Ohio (34), Massachusetts (32), Kentucky (30), New Jersey (24), Connecticut (20), and Michigan (20).
The last time USDA released a count of winter farmers markets was in 2009 as part of the agency’s National Farmers Market Manager Survey. Since then, winter markets have grown 17 percent. Results from that same survey indicate that farmers markets operating more than seven months per year have higher monthly sales than their strictly seasonal counterparts.