Governor Bob McDonnell has recognized the week of August 7 to 13 as Farmers’ Market Week in Virginia. Farmers markets have seen dramatic growth across the commonwealth in the last few years, from 88 markets in 2004 to around 200 in 2011.
“Farmers markets provide the public with ready access to delicious, high-quality locally grown farm products,” said Commissioner Matthew J. Lohr of the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “This is not only good for the economy, but good for communities across the Commonwealth. The fresh fruits and vegetables sold at farmers’ markets are grown nearby, minimizing the time it takes to move them from field to fork and maximizing their time-sensitive flavors and nutrients. The continuing growth of Virginia farmers’ markets helps maintain agriculture as the commonwealth’s number one industry, with an economic impact of $55 billion annually and 357,000 jobs to its credit. The markets also help sustain Virginia’s working farms and these provide green and open spaces and help preserve the high quality of life enjoyed by Virginians.”
In support of this recognition, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is sponsoring a photo contest to include three divisions: children, youth and adults. The market with the most local entries will receive a special prize package to include items of Virginia’s Finest and Virginia Grown products worth at least $100.
The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, Aug. 17. For more information or to submit an original photo taken at a local farmers’ market, visit: www.virginiagrown.com.
In addition, the Virginia Beach Farmers Market, 3640 Dam Neck Road, will host an event on Saturday, Aug. 6, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event -- “Buy Fresh Buy Local” – will feature vendors of the Buy Fresh Buy Local of Hampton Roads Chapter, offering products, information about their business and a wealth of education material about the importance of eating and shopping local. There will be lots of fun for the whole family, including an inflatable vendor, demonstrations and more. For more details, visit www.vbgov.com/farmersmarket.
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