Attending the local farmers market is no longer just a warm weather sport. In cities and towns across the U.S., folks looking for locally-grown produce, fresh meat and dairy products can now find them displayed in direct-to-consumer stalls on a year-round basis.
Even in cold weather locales, winter farmers markets are doing brisk business, setting up shop indoors in places such as the lobby of the historic Northern Hotel in Fort Collins, Colo. The farmers market there offers eggs, meat and poultry, wine and cider, cheese, baked goods, coffee and locally-made food specialties. Other indoor facilities often used include schools, churches and currently vacated retail buildings— the Springfield, Mass.- area is even making use of the old monkey house in Forest Park.
Many farmers markets, such as the one in Springfield, Mo., continue to operate outdoors, and shoppers seem willing to brave the elements for a chance to buy direct from area farmers, bakers and food merchants.
Vendors say that the growing number of locavores who frequent farmers markets in the summer have become more discriminating, and that attitude keeps them coming back in the winter months, even though the selection may not be quite as varied. Though some farmers store put a portion of their vegetables in storage so they can spread their products out over the winter season.
The growing number of farmers markets and the extension of their selling seasons seem to be clear indications that more and more people are seeing the value of buying locally-sourced foods.
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