Celebrate Virginia farmers’ markets and shop local
Virginia Farmers’ Market Week is the perfect time to discover the bounty of fresh local products at farmers’ markets around the state.
Gov. Ralph Northam proclaimed Aug. 1-7 as Virginia Farmers’ Market Week to recognize farmers’ markets in the Commonwealth and encourage Virginians to purchase fresh farm products directly from local producers.
“Virginia farmers’ markets are a critical ingredient to Virginia’s agriculture economy connecting rural to urban, enhancing local food systems, and supporting healthy communities,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “In addition to providing locally grown fruits and vegetables, nutritious protein options, and other locally produced food items, markets showcase the sights, sounds, and uniqueness of a locality and foster a sense of community among their customers.”
“Farmers’ markets provide farmers, especially new and beginning farms, the opportunity to sell their products directly to consumers. This helps grow farm businesses and provides farmers an opportunity to educate and start a dialogue with their customers about agriculture, farming practices, and environmental stewardship,” said VDACS Commissioner Brad Copenhaver.
August is prime season for Virginia produce, and the more than 280 farmers’ markets in the state are overflowing with a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. Consumers can expect to find green beans, berries, tomatoes, sweet corn, peaches, peppers, potatoes, eggplants, onions, carrots and more.
Click here to view a chart of produce items that are in season now and available at your local market. In addition, many farmers’ markets in the state also have fresh Virginia Grown meats such as chicken, pork, seafood, and more.
“The number of farmers’ markets and roadside stands in Virginia has grown dramatically in recent years, mostly in response to consumer demand for fresh, locally-grown agricultural products and the desire for people to connect with where their food comes from,” said Kim Hutchinson, Executive Director, Virginia Farmers Market Association. “In addition to fresh produce and other agricultural products, farmers’ markets have become a central site for community engagement through entertainment, festivals, antique shows, plant sales, and other events.”
Many Virginia farmers markets also provide increased fresh food access by allowing customers to shop using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, double their purchasing power through Virginia Fresh Match, and redeem vouchers for nutritious produce through WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program.