Winter Farmers' Markets A Growing Trend

Obama Foodarama has the story:

The National Farmers Market Directory lists 898 Winter Farmers Markets across the US, which stay open from November through March. That's a brave 14 percent of the nation’s 6,132 Farmers Markets. (Above: The First Lady and Kass, during their historic Farmers Market visit in September 2009)

“Fresh, local, and healthful food isn’t just a good weather offering,” said David Shipman, Acting Administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. “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.”

There are plenty of Winter Markets to choose from, and the states with the highest number of winter markets are also some of the coldest: New York has 153 Winter Markets, Pennsylvania has 42, Ohio has 34, Massachusetts has 32, New Jersey has 24, Connecticut has 20, and Michigan manages to trump its lake effect snow and maintain 20.

The Millwood Farmers' Market has a small contingent of farmers that overwinter in the Crossing Youth Center in Millwood. You can get winter vegetables, meat, and other items from 2-6pm on Wednesdays through the winter.

The South Perry Farmers' Market also ventured into the cold months this year, but they have run into some snags locating a place to call home where they are protected from the elements. There is also a Thursday winter market at the Community Building in downtown Spokane in the early afternoon.

The Spokane Public Market folks are working to develop a space downtown for a permanent indoor location for local farmers that would run year-round. I stopped by the grand opening for Sun People Dry Goods, which is directly adjacent to the proposed space for the Public Market, and chatted with Wayne McMorris about their plans. I love the idea of it but am curious how it will fit in the matrix of summer outdoor markets and Eastern Washington farming community. I'm not sure how the Main Market Co-Op, the Spokane Public Market, and the Downtown Farmers' Market can all coexist within blocks of each other given limited consumer demand. Hopefully consumer demand will grow to meet the supply.