Healthy Harvest




Wholesome, right-from-the-farm products are easier to get than ever.Years ago getting fresh veggies, flowers or maybe meat and eggs straight from the farmer was a rare, sort of retro experience. If you happened to be driving along a country road and saw a farm stand, you might stop and pick up a few things. But it was definitely a once-in-a-while happening.No longer. Now there are farmers markets everywhere and throngs of people shop at them regularly.The numbers tell the tale - in the mid-1990s there were 12 farmers markets in all of the state. Today, according to Gail McWilliam Jellie at the N.H. Agriculture Department, there are 86 farmers markets - a six-fold increase.Most of them are in town centers - in parks, municipal parking lots, places where there's parking and easy access by foot and in some cases public transportation.Aside from making shoppers happy, the phenomenon has been a boon to farmers. "It's provided a whole other marketing avenue," says Jellie. It can be added to traditional ventures like pick-your-own and wholesale business. Plus, adds Jellie, the markets provide an opportunity to advertise the fact that "a farm isn't far away and you can go there six days a week, without waiting."In the last few years, winter farmers markets have been added to the mix - there are now 20 of them. To accommodate the winter demand, farmers have expanded their production of storage crops, crops that keep well, like apples, squash, potatoes and carrots. Some have added greenhouses to grow greens that can be harvested in the winter. Honey, cheeses and meats are available in winter, too.Why the new-found interest in farmers markets? Jellie says it started in the mid-1990s when a federal nutrition program gave low-income people coupons to buy only farm produce. In more recent years, Main Street programs have encouraged the markets as a way to draw people into town. And, lastly, there's been a surge in demand for locally produced products.At some point, says Jellie, the steady growth in farmers markets will come to an end; it's already leveled off: "There are a finite number of farmers in the state."
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. Secret Swimming Spots
    So maybe "secret" is a stretch, but if you're looking to escape the summer crowds, then here are...
  2. Sip Local Spirits in Winchester
    New England Sweetwater Farm and Distillery brings new life to Winchester's Main Street.
  3. The Famous NH Family You've Never Heard Of (Probably)
    Do you know about the Hutchinson Family Singers? We're guessing the answer is "no." It's time you...
  4. Technology and Law
    Shifting ground in technology and culture are changing the legal profession.
  5. Experience Tradition at the Annual Craftsmen's Fair
    The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen's annual fair draws more than 25,000 visitors annually....
  6. Step Back in Time in New London
    Enjoy a weekend getaway to a town with quite the knack for preserving the past.
  7. Learning to Fly Fish
    One newcomer to the Granite State spent a weekend in May learning how to fly fish. See what she...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags