SBA Celebrates ‘National Farmers Market Week’ in New Hampshire
The second week of August (Aug 7-13th), farmers markets across the nation celebrate ‘National Farmers Market Week’, highlighting their role in supporting healthy communities, food systems and stimulating local economies. A farmers' market is a physical retail marketplace typically consisting of booths, tables, or stands and here in New Hampshire are plentiful, often year round and located everywhere across the state.
Shopping at a local farmers market has a lot of advantages where you can find a variety of fresh foods and goods. There are seasonal foods, organic foods, pasture-raised meats, free-range eggs and poultry, handmade cheeses, maple syrup, honey, handmade soap, cut flowers and plants, wines, berries, crafts, and baked goods to name a few. It also is a great place to enjoy an outdoor walk, a place to meet neighbors, listen to live music, watch cooking demonstrations, participate in contests, sample taste offerings, and a chance to meet and talk with farmers from all over. In NH, you can find winter farmers markets and year round farmstands allowing you to enjoy and keep fresh food on plates throughout the colder months.
The NH SBA staff had the pleasure of visiting and meeting owner Jenny Wooster at ‘Picadilly Farm’ a certified organic producer in Winchester, NH. Jenny gave us a tour of their amazing fields of veggies, herbs, and flowers. The seventy-one acres that comprise ‘Picadilly Farm’ is nestled among the fields and hills of southwestern New Hampshire, right along the Vermont and Massachusetts borders and has been agricultural land for many generations. Prior to Picadilly, the farm was a dairy farm for 40+ years. Jenny and Bruce Wooster purchased the farm from neighbors Albert and Judy Hudson in 2006. Picadilly Farm is a not a direct farmers market contributor; however, they are a ‘Community Supported Agriculture Farm’ (CSA) along with about thirty-six other farms in NH. A CSA is a vibrant movement of small-scale farmers and local consumers joining forces. In essence, consumer “shareholders” purchase shares of their farm’s harvest in advance of the growing season. The advance purchase gives farmers more financial security, as well as resources to grow the best crops possible each season. The advance purchase gives shareholders a good deal on high quality, fresh, nutritious food, and because produce is often harvested within days or hours of delivery, it retains more nutritional value and stays fresher longer. They grow a ‘Pick Your Own Garden’ for all CSA shareholders to enjoy. Members and visitors are welcome to walk through the expansive fields, meander through the woods, and bring a blanket and picnic. Picadilly Farm grows produce crops on twenty-six acres, has two homes, a barn complex, and four greenhouses. During the covid pandemic they utilized the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) from Greenfield Cooperative Bank to help with the uncertain times and to keep their employees working. Today, business is better than ever with 20 seasonal employees who return year after year, helping them to continue to grow and thrive.
In addition to farmers markets and CSA’s, there are an abundance of food co-ops, food festivals, local restaurants with a farm to table theme, and community wholesale buyers to support local farmers. NH is a thriving state with around 4,400 farms, each about 100 acres in size. Both milk and greenhouse/nursery crops account for more than half of the state's agricultural sales. Apples, vegetables and sweet corn, and maple products round out New Hampshire's top crops. Top livestock categories, after dairy, are poultry, cattle, and other livestock. New Hampshire's most important field crop is hay, used mainly for cattle and horse feed and NH’s maple syrup production is producing 4 percent of all maple syrup in the United States.
During National Farmers Market Week, we are highlighting just a few reasons why selling and buying at farmers markets is good for you and the community.
- When selling directly to consumers - Farmers markets enable more direct profits to farmers. According to the USDA, farmers and ranchers typically only receive 15.6 cents of every dollar that consumers spend on food in the United States due to processing, supply chain, and marketing costs.
- You do not have to be a farmer or food producer to participate, you may also be able to get involved as an artisan, selling items like soap, candles, jewelry, pottery, and more.
- Marketing and networking opportunities abound. It can facilitate business connections within your local community and create bonds networking with fellow vendors.
Thanks to local farmers, we have an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods available. So, join us and shop regularly at a local farmers’ market and support local all year long.
For a list of local markets, https://www.nhmagazine.com/nhmarkets/ https://www.visitnh.gov/things-to-do/food-drink/farmers-markets