News Headlines


Locally Grown Food

 

Decorative pumpkins may take center stage at fall farmers’ markets, but there are plenty of nutrient-packed winter squash varieties for seasonal menus.


 

Two Virginia farmers’ markets topped the balloting in the annual American Farmland Trust Farmers Market Celebration.

 

 

Seven years ago an idea to bring more locally grown food to the people of Central Virginia took root in a unique business plan. Today, the Local Food Hub continues to serve thousands of consumers and is looking to grow again.


 

Two Virginia farmers’ markets are near the top of the People’s Choice Leaders list in the American Farmland Trust’s annual Farmers Market Celebration.


 

This year’s National Farmers Market Week, Aug. 7-13, marks the 17th annual celebration of markets and the important role they play in local economies.

 

 

It’s officially summer, and sweet corn season is just getting started. Cullipher Farm in Virginia Beach has harvested its first sweet corn of the year to sell at the farm’s stand in Pungo. Kim Cullipher said her family has 35 acres planted in sweet corn this year.

 

Virginia sweet corn typically doesn’t make its debut until early July, but there is plenty of fresh summer produce just waiting to be picked.

 

Prices at Virginia farmers’ markets have held the line against inflation for the past five years, according to an analysis of prices for 18 common items compiled by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

 

Farmers’ markets continue to crop up throughout Virginia, with the number of markets growing by almost 195 percent since 2005. 

 

Federal agencies and anti-hunger advocates estimate 30 to 40 percent of food produced in the U.S. is thrown away each year. A new joint effort by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency is designed to reduce those losses.

 

The phone call was one indicator that serving locally grown foods in Virginia schools was catching on.

 

Virginia Cooperative Extension will offer a workshop on “Strategies for Direct Marketing” for farmers’ market vendors April 28.

 

Farmers’ markets may seem like a summer event, but many are going strong through the winter months.

 

A collection of 11 pick-your-own farms in Central Virginia, operating as the Blue Ridge Fruit Loop, are offering some of the state’s freshest fruits available between May and December.

 

As peak farmers’ market season approaches, shoppers are being invited to enjoy their favorite farm-fresh products while boosting local economies.

 

Homegrown Virginia wants area farmers’ ugly fruits and vegetables. 

 

While it’s early still for bountiful summer produce, many Virginia farmers’ markets are open for business.

 

Virginia farmers who have extra and unsold fresh produce this year are being asked to consider partnering with their local food banks.

 

Efforts to serve more fresh, locally grown foods in Virginia school cafeterias date back to 2007, but significant financial and organizational challenges have kept successes small until now. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced grants in December 2014 to help organizers move foods from farms to schools.

 

Until a few years ago, the Christmas holiday usually meant the end of the season for farmers’ markets across the state. They often wouldn’t reopen until mid-May.

 

Virginians do love their farmers’ markets. That’s evident from the popular vote that landed four Virginia markets in the national Top 100 identified by the American Farmland Trust’s annual “I Love My Farmers Market Celebration.”

 

Only eight states have more farmers’ markets than Virginia, according to rankings released earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing service.

 

The continued spread of local farmers’ markets is the summertime success story that just keeps on growing.

 

The twice-weekly Southside Wholesale Produce Auction in Charlotte County has opened up marketing opportunities for area produce growers.

 

Asparagus tips are starting to shoot out of the ground, signaling the time to find fresh, local vegetables.

 

Agriculture is the No. 1 industry in Virginia, but fresh, healthy food isn’t readily accessible to more than 17 percent of the state’s population.

 

If you’re looking for a unique gift to please someone’s palate this holiday season, head straight to your local farmers’ market. More and more markets are staying open through the Christmas shopping season.

 

Summer is definitely over, and autumn is advancing toward winter but access to fresh Virginia-grown products is in fine fall form.

 

The King and Queen Farmers’ Market that opened this summer on state Route 33 is situated to attract both permanent and weekend residents of Virginia’s Middle Peninsula.

 

Jams, jellies and other canned goods are often among the most popular products at local farmers’ markets and farm stands. But it’s not always easy to comply with food safety laws and preserve fresh foods on a larger scale than Grandma used to do on her kitchen stove.

 

La Plaza Farmers’ Market, the city’s new Latin market that opened this spring, grew out of an interest in sourcing foods locally for restaurants.

 

The American Farmland Trust is asking families to pledge that they will spend $10 a week this summer at their local farmers’ markets.

 

Virginia residents now have the opportunity to buy fresh, locally grown produce at seasonal farmers’ markets that open in May.

 

Tax Day has come and gone, and that means it’s time for seasonal farmers’ markets to open.

 

In the past decade dozens of local food hubs have sprung up around the country, and Virginia is home to several pioneering organizations.

 

It’s more important to consumers that food is grown locally than whether it is grown organically or traditionally, a new study has found.

 

Given the opportunity to share information, small-scale meat, dairy, poultry and egg producers turned out in force Feb. 26 for Virginia’s 2013 Local Foods Network Conference.

 

In addition to larger farms that wholesale their produce, some smaller growers who sell directly to the public are seeing more reasons to become Good Agricultural Practices-certified.

 

Safety precautions and liability insurance are essential for protecting a small farming operation, producers were told Feb. 26.

 

People interested in purchasing locally grown foods can connect with farmers Feb. 26 during the second annual Local Food Networks Conference.

 

Since the Virginia Food System Council issued a challenge last spring for Virginians to spend $10 a week on locally produced foods, nearly 700 households and 30 businesses have pledged almost half a million dollars per year.

 

The new year is a time for planning ahead—for both farmers and consumers. For Virginia households that are interested in joining a community-supported agriculture business in 2013, now is the time to register and pay for a share of locally grown foods that will be available later in the year.

 

Farmers and buyers interested in locally grown foods will have the chance to connect during the second annual Local Food Networks Conference Feb. 26 at Virginia Farm Bureau’s home office in Goochland County.

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that the number of winter farmers’ markets listed in its National Farmers Market Directory has increased by 52 percent, from 1,225 in 2011 to 1,864 in 2012.

 

There’s a growing infrastructure for businesses that sell local foods, and the nation’s locavores could become “locavestors,” a recognized author and economist told farmers at the 2012 Virginia Farm to Table Conference.

 

The booming local foods movement has gone even more local in Bedford County. Farmers and the county economic development office have begun using their own “Bedford Grown” logo to promote foods and farm products with a connection to the community between Lynchburg and Roanoke.

 

From peanuts in the southeastern part of the state to apples in the Roanoke valley, potatoes on the Eastern Shore and broccoli in the southwest, Virginia is full of culinary bounty.

 

Updated federal guidelines are increasing the demand for fresh produce and transforming lunches in schools across the country. 

 

Five Virginia farmers’ markets recently were named among the top 20 in the country in an annual online contest. 

 

The number of U.S. farmers’ markets continues to increase, and Virginia now has enough to place it among the nation’s top 10 market states. 
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