August 10, 2009
VIRGINIA’S FARMERS MARKETS RANK AMONG THE FAVORITES IN THE NATION
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) is pleased to announce that six Virginia farmers markets were ranked in the Top 20 in “American’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest” sponsored by the American Farmland Trust (AFT). Only California had more markets in the Top 20 with a total of seven. AFT announced the results Saturday, August 8, which was the last day of Farmers Market Week.
More than 800 markets signed up to participate in the contest. Voters could vote for their favorite market in one of three categories, small, medium or large. Markets are categorized by the number of vendors at each. A small market has 30 venders or less; medium markets support 31 to 55 vendors and large markets are those with more than 55 vendors.
Among medium markets, Williamsburg ranked number one nationwide. Historic Roanoke came in at number seven, Yorktown at number eight and Goochland at number 19. In the small category, Fairfax ranked number three and Virginia Beach ranked sixth. A list of the Top 20 markets is available at http://action.farmland.org/site/PageNavigator/Americas-Favorite-Farmers-Markets/top_farmers_markets.
“I am not at all surprised that Virginia had six farmers markets ranked in the Top 20 nationally,” said Todd P. Haymore, VDACS Commissioner. “Farmers markets are a vital part of life in Virginia. They’ve become the new social gathering place, and they are a great way to meet the people who grow and raise your food and fiber. Because Virginia’s industry of agriculture is so diverse, so are the offerings in our farmers markets. We have seen a tremendous growth in the number of markets in the last four years – from 88 in 2005 to 174 and counting today. I have shopped personally at several of our Virginia Top 20 markets,” Haymore continued, “and I can see why their customers voted for them. Congratulations to all of our winners, and to all of our farmers who provide high quality, homegrown fruits, vegetables and more to our consumers.”
Elaine J. Lidholm
Director, Office of Communication
Va. Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services
Oliver W. Hill Building
102 Governor Street
Richmond, VA 23219