Winter may be here and along with it, frozen earth that can't produce the vegetables and other forms of produce we may find at our local Farmer's Markets during the warmer weather. Other products you may find at the markets like organic milk, flowers, homemade bread, jams and jellies, honey, cheeses, maple products, eggs, and locally made foods, seem to disappear as well. So, where do all the Farmer's Markets go when the weather turns cold?
They go indoors!
Luckily, Holyokers have a few winter farmer's markets nearby where many of the same things you would find at an outdoor market during warmer weather, have moved indoors.
Farmer's markets have grown in popularity. According to the Farmers Market Coalition, in 1994 there were only 2,000 farmer's markets across the country. Today there are over 8,600 registered with the FDA. And since not all markets are registered, there are many more that have popped up in both rural and urban areas throughout the United States.
Famer's Markets are a win/win solution for both the farmer and the consumer. As a consumer, your vegetables are guaranteed to be fresh, not the result of days of travel by truck or plane, only to arrive either frozen or wilted. As a vendor at a market, you eliminate the middle man and keep your profits for yourself. Most farmers travel less than 50 miles to a market.
Here are some local winter farmer's markets:
- Northampton Winter Market: 67 Conz Street, Northampton - Every other Saturday 10am-2pm
- Easthampton Winter Market: 122 Pleasant Street, Easthampton - Sunday 10am-2pm
- Holyoke Winter Market: 310 Appleton Street, Holyoke - 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month
- Forest Park Winter Market: Forest Park, Springfield - Saturday 10am-2pm
Many of these markets accept SNAP benefits and WIC. Although many take debit and credit cards, it's a good idea to bring cash, too.
Fresh, local food is available all year long, but not at the same frequency as during warmer months; so, arrive early to make sure there are plenty of products left.