OLYMPIA — The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and the Washington State Farmers Market Association (WSFMA) are teaming up to encourage support for Washington Farmers Market Week, which begins Sunday and continues through Aug. 13.
In a declaration proclaiming Aug. 7-13 “Washington Farmers Market Week,” Gov. Jay Inslee encouraged people to visit their local market and taste the produce from local farms in their peak season. WSFMA executive director Karen Kinney said now is a perfect time to visit a local market.
“Whether you are looking for an adventure close to home or want to shop like a local while on vacation, farmers markets have something for everyone to enjoy,” Kinney said. “Vendor tables are overflowing with tomatoes, corn, melons, peaches, greens and peppers and even kohlrabi! Surprise your family and friends with meals prepared with fresh market ingredients.”
There are farmers markets in nearly every county across the state, about 170 spread across 36 of the state’s 39 counties.
In his proclamation, Gov. Inslee noted a host of benefits that farmers markets provide. For the public, they offer fresh, nutritious food. For families on assistance, they offer access to fresh produce since many markets accept federal nutrition assistance benefits like WIC, Senior Farmers Market checks and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. For farmers, the markets offer a way for them to sell directly to consumers.
The markets also provide broad economic benefits, according to WSFMA and research by Washington State University, which found sales at just 115 WSFMA member markets surpassed $44 million in 2015, averaging $406,000 per market. That revenue helps support farm families and rural jobs. Markets can also be a boon for local businesses, boosting sales for those located nearby.
NCWLIFE Staff Report
The News, Events and People of North Central Washington.