Farmers' Market Week in Massachusetts
The statewide celebration of local markets is underway.
Massachusetts' Farmers' Market Week ends Saturday. It's the perfect time to visit Winchester's summer-long Farmers' Market, which is held in the Town Common every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs announced the celebration in a statement. "Governor Deval Patrick today proclaimed August 19-25 Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week, calling farmers’ markets across the state 'essential to the vitality of Massachusetts farms,'" the statement reads.
The week kicked off on Monday, Aug. 20, when Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) Commissioner Greg Watson read the proclamation at the 28th Annual Massachusetts Tomato Contest at Boston’s City Hall Plaza Farmers’ Market.
“Farmers’ markets are great places for communities to gather and enjoy fresh, healthy and locally-grown foods, while also helping sustain our agricultural history and traditions," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan, whose office includes DAR.
Farmers’ markets 'create a festive open air setting which enhances community spirit and civic pride by offering a natural place for community gathering,' according to the proclamation, which also says markets help heighten public awareness of the agricultural diversity of Massachusetts and the benefits of buying local and preserving open space.
“Not only can you find a growing variety of Massachusetts-grown products, but shoppers can also engage with the producers who grow, raise and produce their food," said Commissioner Watson. "This personal exchange is what differentiates farmers’ markets from most other retail venues."
With over 250 farmers’ markets open this summer and fall, shoppers in communities across the state – urban, suburban, and rural alike -- have easy access to an array of freshly-harvested fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers, as well as local farm items such as maple syrup, honey, eggs, meat, poultry, baked goods, wine, jams and jellies.
DAR compiles an annual list of Massachusetts farmers’ markets, listing days, locations, times, and opening and closing dates for each market. An interactive map of farmers’ markets statewide is available at http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/farmers_markets.htm.
DAR's mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions - Agricultural Conservation & Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health, and Crop and Pest Services - DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth's agricultural community to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture's role in energy conservation and production.