USDA Reports Increase in Winter Farmers’ Markets

The number of winter farmers’ markets in the U.S. is growing.

Winter Squash

The USDA reports an increase in winter farmers' markets.

iStockphoto.com/Bruce Block

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The last year has seen a 38 percent jump in the number of winter farmers’ markets, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Farmers Market Directory, and the winter markets now account for 17 percent of farmers’ markets nationwide.

More than 7,000 farmers’ markets operate in the United States, and the number of winter markets – those operating between November and March – increased from 886 in 2010 to 1,225 in 2011.

The USDA report indicates a contributing factor is an increased use of hoop houses, helping growers extend production seasons at a low cost.

The top 10 states for winter farmers’ markets are New York, California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, Maryland, Florida, Massachusetts, Virginia and Michigan.