As we all know, everything’s coming in a little late this year – including the news that this very week, August 3-9, 2014 is National Farmers Market Week! Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack thus declared the fifteenth annual observation in an official proclamation. The USDA is quick to remind us that there are “Thousands of Reasons to Celebrate National Farmers Market Week” — but we already knew that…. [http://blogs.usda.gov/2014/08/04/thousands-of-reasons-to-celebrate-national-farmers-market-week/]
Farmers market development “is a cornerstone of the USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative” which coordinates the USDA’s policy, resources, and outreach efforts related to local and regional food systems, one of the pillars of USDA’s commitment to rural economic development.
To celebrate National Farmers Market Week the U.S. Post Office has issued four Forever postage stamps, each depicting a chapter of the farmers market story – the first stamp offers an array of fresh breads, artisan cheese, eggs and cookies; a second stamp features veggies and fruits of every persuasion; the third stamp sports a lush array of fresh cut flowers; the fourth depicts live plants, herbs, colorful fruits and flowers. All of the items bear handwritten labels that identify the product and its price. The stamps are designed by Greg Breeding with illustrations by Robin Moline.
For the most part Minnesotans know their farmers market – site, hours, specialties, friendly growers, their ethnicity and their progeny! Farmers markets have become the town square of many towns and urban neighborhoods. There are countless guides to the possibilities! Each market sports its own personality, produce and promoters – try asking a random group about their favorite farmers market – observe the lively display of local farmers market chauvinism!
At great risk of missing the reader’s favorite, here is just a small starter sampler of the readily accessible guides to all that friendly freshness!
http://mfma.org – website of the Minnesota Farmers Market Association
http://www.mdastate.mn.us/food/ – Minnesota Department of Agriculture publication
http://www.stpaulfarmersmarket.com – guide to the St. Paul Farmers’ Market
http://www.mplsfarmersmarket.com/FreshNews/ – guide to the Minneapolis Farmers Market
There are scores of other guides, organized by every conceivable categorical possibility. Surf the Net to sample the season’s harvest!
Whether you’re a farmer, a merchant
or a happy and healthy customer
Happy National Farmers Market Week
August 3-0, 2014