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It’s Farmers’ Market Week

According to a proclamation by Gov. Terry R. McAuliffe, this week is Farmers’ Market Week in Virginia. In the proclamation, McAuliffe said farmers’ markets in Virginia have grown dramatically, from 88 markets in 2006 to 259 in 2016.

What has caused this dramatic growth?

“There are many reasons,” said Sandy Adams, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) in a recent press release. “The popularity of the ‘Buy Local’ movement has continued to grow, people who no longer have farms in the family like to meet farmers and know where their food originates and farmers’ markets often offer specialty or heritage products that are not easy to find anywhere else.”

She also said farmers’ markets are becoming key community gathering places.

Every year, Virginia sees new farmers’ markets opening, many in what are called ‘food deserts,’ giving people with few shopping options access to fresh, nutritious products. At farmers’ markets across the commonwealth shoppers can find Virginia grown tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, onions, okra, squash, apples, peaches, melons, berries, herbs and more harvested at the peak of flavor, freshness and nutrition. In addition to delicious foods to eat, they also will find products such as plants and fresh-cut flowers.

Farmers’ markets help strengthen local economies according to the realease. Consumer spending at farmers’ markets keeps money circulating within the local economy, helping to create and preserve jobs in rural localities. Consumers visiting farmers’ markets also spend money at neighboring businesses, supporting the neighborhoods where the markets are held.

VDACS maintains a list of Virginia farmers’ markets by region on VirginiaGrown.com. Farmers’ markets are invited to add or update their listings on the web site. Market managers, vendors and consumers are encouraged to follow VDACS on Twitter and Facebook.