Idaho farmers markets have experienced rapid growth in popularity in recent years. In the past decade, the number of markets in Idaho increased by more than 150% — up from 20 in 2002 to 54 markets operating today. Farmers markets are an excellent source of quality, local products and truly showcase the bounty of Idaho agriculture. In recognition of the importance of farmers markets to the state, Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter proclaimed August 4-10, 2013 as Idaho Farmers Market Week. Shoppers are encouraged to celebrate the fifth-annual event by visiting a local market and participating in the many special activities taking place throughout the state.
Farmers markets provide a central link between citizens and farmers by providing access to fresh, nutritional food to the local community. "Farmers markets strengthen communities, preserve Idaho's rural livelihoods, and stimulate local economies," commented Idaho State Department of Agriculture Director Celia R. Gould, "We invite consumers to celebrate Idaho agriculture and shop at a local market to enjoy fresh, local food from the many great farmers, ranchers, and producers in Idaho."
The Idaho State Department of Agriculture will kick-off Idaho Farmers Market Week with a visit to the Moscow Farmers Market on August 10. Beginning at 8 a.m. City of Moscow Mayor Nancy Chaney will be giving out "I Shop at the Farmers Market" tote bags to the first seventy-five shoppers at the market. Chaney says of the Market, "The Moscow Farmers Market builds social vibrancy, helps the economy, and provides access to wholesome fresh foods and regional crafts. Our community is gaining state and national recognition as a model for healthy eating and active lifestyles. The Moscow Farmers Market is an important part of that effort." Other special events at the Moscow Farmers Market includes a pickling demonstration at 10 a.m. at the City of Moscow tent on Friendship square. The Moscow Farmers Market was one of thirty markets in the U.S., and the only market in Idaho, to receive grant funds through the Discover You Can program sponsored by Jarden Foods, the makers of Ball home canning products. By purchasing and preserving local products during the peak of harvest season, consumers can savor the tastes and smells of Idaho agriculture for enjoyment all year long.
USDA Secretary Thomas Vilsak has observed that, "Farmers markets play a key role in developing local and regional food systems, support family farms, revitalize local communities, provide important outlets for producers and the opportunity for farmers and consumers to interact." Moscow is increasingly recognized for its myriad efforts, independently and in coordination with others, to promote healthy eating and active lifestyles, and was recently recognized by the White House for participation in the Let's Move! movement.
Special events and activities will also be coordinated by individual markets across the state. Visit www.agri.idaho.gov for a complete listing including dates, locations, and times to find a local market near you.