Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

January 16, 2009

Farmers Markets Open for The Winter In New York State

Fresh Produce, Local Foods Still Available at Many Winter Farmersí Markets

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today encouraged consumers to seek out local produce and other New York produced foods at farmersí markets, even during these cold winter months. There are nearly 50 winter farmersí markets throughout the State that have moved their operations inside for the winter, while still offering locally produced goods.

"Just because itís cold outside does not mean you can no longer get local farm fresh produce and New York produced goods," the Commissioner said. "There are many storage and root vegetables, along with fruits, dairy products, wine, maple syrup, and more that are available during the winter months in New York. Because the demand for local food is so great, many farmersí markets have opted to stay in operation throughout the winter months. With winter farmersí markets popping up in communities all over, New Yorkers will have outlets for fresh, local foods all year long, and farmers will have the opportunity to generate income year round."

Traditionally operated in open-air venues, many farmersí markets in New York State have found local buildings or structures into which they can move for the winter season, while others tough it out in the cold. Some long-standing winter market facilities, such as the Rochester Public Market, the Central New York Regional Market, and the Clinton Bailey Market in Buffalo have benefited from the Departmentís Farmersí Market Grant Program, which has provided cost-share funding to help markets improve their facilities, and in some cases, help winterize market structures.

Winter farmersí markets may be limited in the varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables they offer in comparison to summer months, but still offer a wide array of local farm produce and goods. Some fresh produce items common at winter farmersí markets include apples, pears, potatoes, onions, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and winter squash. Other local "value-added" products include maple syrup, honey, wine, cider, milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, breads, preserves, meats and more.

A list of Winter Farmersí Markets in New York State can be found at

Diane Eggert, Executive Director of the Farmersí Market Federation of New York, said, "Farmersí markets have experienced a growth in consumer interest over the last few years as more consumers search for sources of fresh, locally grown foods. But demand doesnít end when the typical growing season ends in the fall. Farmers are able to extend their seasons with a variety of products with both storage crops and fresh harvested crops throughout the winter. It was a natural evolution that farmersí markets would begin to find ways to satisfy their customersí needs for fresh, local foods all year long."

Winter farmersí markets are a win for everybody. Consumers can find local and fresh products easily at winter farmersí markets and reduce the distance food has to travel, which saves on fuel and can help cut greenhouse gas emissions. Municipalities welcome these markets as they attract residents into town on a weekly basis, spurring economic activity. Winter farmersí markets also allow farmers to diversify their crops and have a year-round income.

Winter farmersí markets, like those hosted in the summer, also offer a variety of special events and vendors, like the Pride of New York Winestand that can be found at several Greenmarkets in New York City. "The Pride of New York Winestand has been a phenomenal success even on the coldest days, and consumers are thrilled to discover the high-quality local wines made right in their own backyards," said Jim Trezise of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation.

While at the farmersí market, consumers should look for the Pride of New York emblem being displayed. The Pride of New York program is designed to help consumers identify New York products where they shop through the use of an emblem; assist farmers and food processors in marketing their products by using the emblem; and encourage retailers and restaurants to highlight the New York State products they use and sell by displaying the emblem.

2009 Press Releases