Fresh favorites available at Virginia farmers markets

vdacsThe Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) invites Virginians to support local farmers and experience the bounty of Virginia agriculture at farmers’ markets across the state. Just in time for the summer season, VDACS and the Virginia Food System Council are bringing back the popular “Farm. Fresh. Pledge!” promotion to encourage Virginians to support their local markets and buy fresh, Virginia Grown products.

Virginia Cooperative Extension estimates that if each household in Virginia spent just $10 a week on locally grown agricultural products, consumers could invest an additional $1.65 billion back into the local economy each year. Pledge to spend at least $10 a week at your favorite farmers’ market and track your purchases with a “Farm. Fresh. Pledge!” punch card for a chance to win.Pledge punch cards and marketing materials are available at participating Virginia farmers’ markets.

For every $10 you spend at your farmers’ market, you will receive a punch on your “Farm. Fresh. Pledge!” card. Once you fill up all 14 slots on your card, hand it over to the market manager and your card will be entered into a monthly drawing for a chance to win a Virginia Grown/Virginia’s Finest prize pack. To celebrate Virginia Farmers’ Market Week in August, there will be a special drawing for a Virginia Grown/Virginia’s Finest prize pack and a gift certificate for a Virginia bed & breakfast getaway courtesy of the Bed & Breakfast Association of Virginia. Complete “Farm. Fresh. Pledge!” promotion details are posted onVirginiaGrown.com.

At the end of the summer, a special prize will be awarded to the Virginia farmers’ market with the most completed entries.Virginians are also invited to show their farmers’ market pledge online and watch the pledges rise through the Virginia Food System Council’s pledge webpage.

VDACS maintains a list of more than 200 Virginia farmers’ markets by region on VirginiaGrown.com. Virginians can find markets in rural and urban communities across the Commonwealth. Farmers’ markets are a great place to find fresh, Virginia Grown tomatoes, corn, squash, peaches, melons, berries and so much more, all harvested at their peak of flavor, freshness and nutrition. Click here to view a calendar of fresh fruit and vegetable availability in Virginia. In addition, many markets offer a variety of local specialty food products, artisans and craftspeople, ready-to-eat treats and family entertainment.

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