February 08, 2011
Farmers’ Markets Continue through Winter in New York State
New York State Acting Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine today reminded consumers that many farmers’ markets remain open during the winter months, making local produce and processed farm products available year round. New York has more than 75 winter farmers’ markets operating from December through March that have moved their operations inside for the winter season in order to continue to offer consumers locally produced goods.
“Bitter cold weather does not stop New Yorkers from seeking out farm fresh produce and locally produced food,” the Commissioner said. “Many of the state’s farmers’ markets have responded to that year-round demand by getting out of the cold and moving their operations to a warmer or more sheltered location during these winter months. There are many great local products that are available in winter, and with more and more winter markets popping up in communities all over, New Yorkers will continue to have outlets for fresh, local foods all year long – a plus for farmers and consumers alike!”
Traditionally, farmers’ markets have operated in open-air venues, such as parking lots, open-sided sheds, or public parks. With assistance from schools, fire departments, community centers and other local agencies, many farmers’ markets have found buildings or structures that they can move into for the winter season, offering a warmer, more pleasant atmosphere to shop and do business in.
Winter farmers’ 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 local produce items that store well from the summer and fall months, and are common at winter farmers’ markets include apples, pears, potatoes, onions, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, and winter squash. Some markets also feature farmers that continue production in greenhouses throughout the winter months and are therefore able to offer leafy greens, tomatoes and other typical warm weather products. Other local, “value-added” products that are available year-round include maple syrup, honey, wine, cider, milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, breads, preserves, meats and more.
A list of winter farmers’ markets in New York State, along with their location, hours of operation and contact information can be found at http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/AP/2010-2011_Winter_Community_Farmers_Markets.pdf
Diane Eggert, Executive Director of the Farmers’ Market Federation of New York, said, “Farmers’ 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 doesn’t 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 farmers’ markets would begin to find ways to satisfy their customers’ needs for fresh, local foods all year long.”
Winter farmers’ markets are a win for everybody. Consumers can find local and fresh products easily at winter farmers’ markets and reduce the distance food has to travel, which saves on fuel and can help cut greenhouse gas emissions. Winter farmers’ markets also encourage farmers to diversify their crops, extend their growing season, and provide income during the winter months. Municipalities welcome winter markets as they attract residents on a weekly basis, spurring economic activity during a typically quiet time of year.
Currently, New York has approximately 500 farmers’ markets that operate during the growing months, offering a market venue for more than 1,000 New York farmers. More than 65 markets extend their season and are open year-round. Many farmers’ markets accept food stamp benefits, making farm fresh produce available and affordable for food stamp eligible New Yorkers.
2011 Press Releases