Farmers’ markets around the world and close to home

With sub-freezing temperatures and snow covered lawns, it’s kind of hard right now to imagine the vine ripened, farm fresh tomatoes that will be sold at Virginia’s farmers’ markets this summer.  But for those in charge of the community market, the dark days of winter are a good time to to prepare for your best season ever.

For inspiration: check out Slate’s photo gallery of Farmers’ Markets from Around the World, capturing exotic vegetables and the sense of community that markets can foster. 

A little more locally, inspiration can come in the form of measured success.  The South Boston Farmer’s Market just released figures on the amount of produce purchased this year.  How about 1,123 pounds of green beans!  And 7,000 pounds of tomatoes! The measurements might be a little conservative, but the self-reported sales figures give the collective group of farmers and the market management something to benchmark their sales by next year.  The figures also demonstrate the economic value of the farmer’s market, and the success of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (VDACS) Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which accounted for $10,800 in coupon redemption by qualifying seniors).
So this year, how will you measure the success of your farmer’s market?

Part of the nearly 400 pounds of peppers sold at the South Boston Farmer's Market.

In South Boston, it’s taking a team to do it: the Halifax County Farmer’s Market Association, the town, the Main Street organization-Destination Downtown South Boston, VDACS, and Extension.

For more information on the collaborative and coordinated approach in growing the market and supporting vendors, read the News and Record story, Banner Year for Farmer’s Markets, or contact one of the partners.