Farmers' markets ready to open across Minnesota
Minnesotans can start making plans to visit their local farmers' market. Many of Minnesota's approximately 100 markets have already begun to open, with spring flowers, bedding plants, and early season vegetables like asparagus and rhubarb.
Farmers' markets have become an increasingly popular way for consumers to receive their local produce, according to Paul Hugunin, marketing specialist with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Minnesota Grown Program.
"The number of farmers' markets listed in the annual Minnesota Grown Directory has nearly doubled in the past six years," said Hugunin.
"In 2002, we had 45 farmers' markets in our directory, but this year we are proud to say we have more than 80 markets statewide."
The President of the Minnesota Farmers' Market Association, Ron Branch, says one reason for the increased popularity of farmers' markets is the personal connection consumers can make with growers.
"Farmers' markets are not only a great place to buy fresh, wholesome and unique produce," Branch said.
"This is an opportunity for consumers to learn more about farming, to connect with the producer and by buying locally, they help strengthen their communities."
Minnesotans can easily find their local market in the popular Minnesota Grown Directory.
The 2008 directory includes 82 farmers' markets statewide along with nearly 600 orchards, berry farms, garden centers and other places where consumers can purchase products directly from the farmer.
Consumers can find their local market by using the Minnesota Grown Directory online at www.minnesotagrown.com or they can order a free printed copy by calling 1-800-657-3878.