Winter farm markets on the rise

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced that the number of winter farmers markets is increasing. According to the updated National Farmers Market Directory, since 2010, the number of winter markets has increased 38%, from 886 to 1,225. These winter markets also account for nearly 17% of the nation’s 7,222 operating farmers markets.

“Consumers are looking for more ways to buy locally grown food throughout the year,” Merrigan said. “Through winter markets, American farmers are able to meet this need and bring in additional income to support their families and businesses.”

Farmers markets operating at least once between November and March are considered winter farmers markets. The top 10 states for these markets are:

State                                     # of Winter Markets in 2011     # of Winter Markets in 2010

1. New York                                                 180                                                 152

2. California                                                 153                                                 137

3. Pennsylvania                                           78                                                   35

4. North Carolina                                        73                                                   53

5. Ohio                                                           50                                                   34

6. Maryland                                                  48                                                   30

7. Florida                                                       46                                                   31

8. Massachusetts                                        43                                                   30

9. Virginia                                                    40                                                   21

10. Michigan                                                33                                                   19

The expanded adoption of hoop house technology, which has enabled many smaller growers to extend their production seasons at low cost, has been a contributing factor to the growth of winter farmers markets. Hoop houses have allowed growers

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