News Headlines

Locally Grown Food

 

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. 

 

The Virginia Master Food Volunteer program is making it easier for consumers to learn about good nutrition and local foods.

 

The American Farmland Trust has kicked off its fourth annual America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest at votemyfarmersmarket.org.

 

All it took was a warehouse, cooling units and a large loading dock to help the fresh produce industry in Southwest Virginia take off.

 

The United States may be the land of plenty in many ways, but for one in six Americans, hunger is a reality.

 

Farmers’ markets—both retail and wholesale—are booming in Virginia.

 

Farmers and farmers’ market customers have known for years that buying local foods builds relationships and boosts local economies.

 

Interest in local foods has increased over the years in Virginia, and so have the avenues that farmers can use to distribute their products.

 

School nutrition directors across Virginia have been actively seeking out more locally produced foods to serve students. 

 

Virginia has at least 40 winter farmers’ markets, twice as many as it had in 2010, according to findings of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

 

In the middle of a cold winter, it’s difficult to imagine eating fresh summer produce. But if you want to enjoy a bounty of fruits and vegetables as a member of a community-supported agriculture system, or CSA, now’s the time to sign up.

 

Homeowners who want to learn more about beautifying their property also will have an opportunity to purchase locally grown food and other Virginia food products at the inaugural Virginia Home and Garden Show Jan. 14-16 at the Farm Bureau Center at The Meadow Event Park.

 

More than 1,040 new farmers’ markets have been recorded across the country, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

 

Virginia farmers have helped contribute more than 1 million pounds of fresh produce to regional food banks this year.

 

Young farmers across the commonwealth have been helping feed hungry Virginians by working with local food banks. See more on the Virginia Farm Bureau ...

 

The local food trend has taken root at 31st Street Baptist Church.

 

Locally-grown and organic foods are popular among consumers, but farmers and policy experts warn it isn’t wise to dismantle the modern agriculture production system. 

 

Virginia had more winning markets than any other state in American Farmland Trust’s "America’s Favorite Farmers’ Market" contest this year.

 

Fall is a perfect time to visit to a farm, and Virginia has plenty of great places to enjoy the fruits of the season. 

 

Local foods, school lunch programs, hunger problems and the future of American food policy are continuing topics of discussion in our society. A new coalition of farmers and ranchers is seeking to bring players in today’s food policy debate to a "big table" and start a national movement to steer the conversation in a positive direction.

 

There are about 200 farmers’ markets in Virginia. While most are seasonal, a few are able to stay open all year long. The biggest challenge doesn’t appear to be a lack of customers, but a shortage of permanent structures to house the markets.
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