“As eat-local trend grows, farmers markets go year-round”

A very interesting article from USA TODAY. I’m giving it as is…

“As Americans show greater interest in eating locally produced fruits and vegetables, an increasing number of farmers markets are selling year-round.

Since 2010, the number of winter markets jumped 38% from 886 to 1,225 in August 2011, according to the updated National Farmers Market Directory. These winter markets, defined as those operating at least once between November and March, now account for nearly 17% of the nation’s 7,222 operating farmers markets.

“Consumers are looking for more ways to buy locally grown food throughout the year,” Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said in announcing the upswing. “Through winter markets, American farmers are able to meet this need and bring in additional income to support their families and businesses.”

USDA attributes part of this increase to the greater use of hoop house technology, which covers crops with plastic and allows farmers to grow food in colder weather. It gives farmers grants to promote such work.

It lists the 10 states with the most winter markets, followed by the number of markets for 2011 vs. that for 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

Note*: these states are new to the top 10 list.”

By Wendy Koch, USA TODAY

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