Our Farmers Markets Grow in Number, Accessibility, and Recognition
As farmers' markets keep pleasing and enticing customers, the markets keep growing in size and number. The United States Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Marketing Service recently announced the number of markets in its 2010 directory: 6,132, up 16 percent from the 5,274 that operated in 2009. In Lexington, we are enjoying both a new East End Community Market, and Bluegrass Farmers Market's expansion to a new day and location, as the wonderful Lexington Herald-Leader columnist Merlene Davis described recently.
Bluegrass Farmers Market won some welcome recognition from its customers recently. American Farmland Trust sponsored a contest recently aimed at naming America's favorite famers' markets, based on patrons' votes. Bluegrass Farmers Market trounced the competition to be named as Kentucky's favorite market, receiving 165 votes, 40 more than the nearest competitor, the growers-only Franklin County Farmers Market.
Bluegrass Farmers Market requires its 25 vendors to sell only locally grown foods. The Market operates at 3450 Richmond Road on Saturdays and Tuesday afternoons and at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, 650 Newtown Pike, on Thursday afternoons during the growing season.
I find the various lists of beloved markets on the American Farmland Trust site cheering, endearing, and reassuring. I love knowing that people have markets they treasure in Carrboro, North Carolina and Fairbanks, Alaska and Emmett, Idaho and Destrehan, Louisiana and Haleiwa, Hawaii.
This Saturday, if all goes according to plan, I will finally get to go to the new East End Community Market very near my house. I am eager to be there. I want this tiny new market to take root and grow, particularly over this winter, when there will be time for growers to plan and plant for the 2011 growing season.
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The world is coming to visit central Kentucky this year for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. To help our visitors know more about Kentucky's food and food ways, Savoring Kentucky is rolling out 116 Savory Kentucky Bites, one for each of the 100 days before WEG begins, and 16 for the days during WEG, September 25 - October 10. Today's Savory Bite is number 78.