NYM Farmers Market celebrates National Farmers Market Week
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has proclaimed August 2-8 as National Farmers Market Week. In celebration, the New York Mills Farmers Market is having a "tasting" day on Saturday, Aug. 8. The public is invited to come sample fresh breads, homemade jams, jellies, pickles, organic pork sausage, and, of course, vegetables fresh from the garden.
This year marks the 10th annual National Farmers Market Week. Since the USDA began declaring National Farmers Market Week in 2000, the number of farmers markets has grown more than 60 percent, from 2,863 markets in 2000 to 4,685 in 2008.
According to the USDA, the New York Mills Farmers Market is one of the approximately 4,800 in the country and 78 in Minnesota . The New York Mills Farmers Market began in May 2008, and currently has 6-9 farmers selling a wide variety of products, including giant and purple kohlrabi, three varieties of potatoes, five varieties of carrots, garlic, broccoli, summer squash, and several varieties of winter squash. Sweet corn and several varieties of tomatoes are right around the corner. The market also features organic pork products, organic butter, and organic cheese. Homemade jams, jellies and pickles are very popular. Some of the more unusual items include carrot and cardamom jam, hot pepper jelly, summer squash pickles, zucchini relish, and the ever-popular dill pickle. Made from scratch breads are also a popular item.
"Farmers markets are good for everyone," says Stacy Miller, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition, a nonprofit supporting farmers markets across the country. "They are good for your health, good for your community, and good for the economy. Not to mention they offer the freshest foods from America's most entrepreneurial farmers and preserve our country's agricultural traditions."
The vendors at the New York Mills Farmers Market believe that what is special about a local market is that the vegetables are freshly picked and you have an opportunity to develop a personal relationship with the grower asking questions you feel are important about the product or produce. An added benefit is that most of the produce at the New York Mills Farmers Market is grown chemically-free.
Other facts about farmers markets:
- California, New York, Iowa, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Kentucky are the states with the most farmers markets.
- The USDA estimates there are an average of 31 vendors per farmers market, providing opportunities for more than 130,000 direct-marketing farmers across the country.
- 4,685 farmers markets were listed in the USDA Farmers Market National Directory for 2008, and USDA estimates approximately 4,800 in 2009.
- More than 740 markets operate nationwide between November and May, a time often considered 'off season.' This number is growing.
- The USDA's Agriculture Census reported more than $1.2 billion in direct farm-to-consumer sales in 2007, the majority of these at farmers markets.
- Farmers markets accepted over $40 million in WIC (Women, Infant and Children) and SFNP (Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program) vouchers in 2008 - making fresh food available to millions of low income families.
- Farmers at farmers markets donate hundreds of thousands of pounds of fresh produce to local social service agencies across the country each year.