LatinaLista — Whether it’s the latest headlines of that nasty stomach bug — known officially as cyclospora — hitting people in several states, traced to eating a salad mix served at a national restaurant chain, or protests against genetically modified foods (GM), people are increasingly turning to homegrown, organic fruits and vegetables.
While more grocery stores are offering ‘organic’ food sections, the one place where everyone knows everything is freshly grown is their local farmers market.
From August 4-10, the nation celebrates National Farmers Market Week. This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released online the 2013 National Farmers Market Directory, which features over 8,000 farmers markets across the country.
This year’s edition saw an increase of over 3,000 farmers markets added to the directory since 2008.
In addition to featuring the nation’s farmers market, the National Farmers Market Directory “identifies new farmers markets, the states with the highest number of markets in operation, and the total number of farmers markets that have registered throughout the United States.”
“Due to consumer demand for local food we are seeing an increase in the diversity of market offerings, and more participation from small businesses and farms,” Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Anne Alonzo said. “This year we are focusing on the sustainability and maturity of farmers markets – keeping new and old markets thriving and improving. Farmers markets around the country continue to be popular social events for families and communities.”
Whether it’s buying the standard baskets of fruits and vegetables, seedling plants to grow our own vegetables at home, homemade baked goods, sweets or new twists on old food products, farmers markets have evolved into mini — and in some cities, not so mini — street festivals where the community has access to healthy foods, are introduced to new natural products and, most importantly, have fun sharing a desire to be healthy.
For the entire week, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will be tweeting about events throughout the country @USDA_AMS, as well as, posting daily entries on their blog. There is also an ongoing Twitter conversation about farmers markets using the hashtag #FarmMktWeek.