Farmers markets number in top 10Published 10:15pm Tuesday, January 3, 2012
LANSING — For the first time, Michigan has made the top 10 list for the number of winter farmers markets held in the state.
Farmers markets operating at least once between November and March are considered winter farmers markets.
Michigan ranks 10th nationally, with 33 winter farmers markets, a 58 percent increase from the 19 winter farmers markets that operated in Michigan in 2010. New York topped the list with 180 winter farmers markets, up from 152 in 2010.
The winter market top 10 list was announced last week by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory shows that since 2010, the number of winter markets has increased 38 percent nationwide, from 886 to 1,225.
These winter markets account for nearly 17 percent of the nation’s 7,222 operating farmers markets.
Other states to make the top 10 list of winter farmers markets were: California (153 markets), Pennsylvania (78 markets), North Carolina (73 markets), Ohio (50 markets), Maryland (48 markets), Florida (46 markets), Massachusetts (43 markets) and Virginia (40 markets).
“The demand for locally grown food continues to increase,” said Keith Creagh, the director for the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.
“Through winter markets, consumers are able to buy local products year-round, and farmers are able to bring in additional income to support their families and businesses in what has traditionally been a slower time of the year for many farm businesses.”
“Dollars spent at area farmers markets are more likely to stay in Michigan, which helps strengthen our local economy,” Creagh said.