LEWIS, N.Y. — Summer farmers’ market season has officially kicked off this month in the Adirondack region, bringing a welcome return of locally grown and made food, arts and crafts. Seasonal farmers’ markets offer a closer-to-home opportunity for folks to support farmers and makers in their community.
Adirondack Harvest has just launched an updated 2022 Summer Farmers’ Market Guide that includes up-to-date information for every farmers’ market in the 13 counties they serve, including- Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties. The online directory highlights up-to-date dates, hours, and information about all farmers’ markets in the region. Additionally, users can search for markets that accept and offer food assistance benefits such as SNAP, P-EBT benefits, FMNP coupons, and Double Up Food Bucks.
You can find up-to-date information about all farmers’ markets in the greater Adirondack region (from Malone to Saratoga) at adirondackharvest.com/markets. Print guides will also be available by request and will be distributed to Cornell Cooperative Extension offices, county health departments, and town halls.
Mary Godnick, Communication Coordinator for Adirondack Harvest says, “One of the main frustrations that both locals and tourists have with supporting local businesses is being disappointed by inaccurate information online. The Adirondack Harvest team works hard to connect with every individual farmers’ market manager to keep our online database and print guides up to date each year.”
Mary says, “Our hope is that by making this information more accessible, more people can visit a farmers’ market near them, get a taste of what is being locally grown and made in their communities, and support local farms and food producers not just during the summer, but year-round.”
Studies show that there are many economic, environmental, and social benefits of supporting local farmers and agricultural producers. It’s estimated that each dollar spent at farmers’ markets generated 58 cents in additional sales elsewhere in the local economy. One way to support local growers and makers is by visiting and shopping at local farmers’ markets.
Farmers’ markets also offer unique and seasonal food and products that can’t be found elsewhere. Shoppers that qualify for P-EBT, SNAP, or FMNP benefits can also participate in a matching program called “Double Up Food Bucks” that gives shoppers twice as many benefits dollars to be spent at select markets.
Some of the first seasonal products that shoppers can expect to see in the next few weeks are spring greens, rhubarb, asparagus, radishes, plants, baked goods, dairy products, meat, and value-added and prepared food. Not all farmers’ markets strictly showcase locally grown or made products. One easy way to understand if something is grown locally is to get a good idea of what is currently in season.
Robin Hill, Market Manager for the Old Forge Farmers’ Market says, “Farmers’ markets are extremely important to rural Adirondack communities because many towns and villages don’t even have a supermarket any longer. So these seasonal markets serve large geographic areas providing fresh produce, meats and dairy to community residents in need.”
Robin underscores the importance of patronizing local farmers’ markets to support small farms in the region. She says, “Community residents and tourists and visitors should visit local markets to support farmers who are finding it harder and harder to survive and some travel great distances to participate in these markets. The increase of prices for fuel used on the farms and used to travel to the markets is creating a hardship on their livelihood.”
Robin also encourages folks that qualify for SNAP/ P-EBT to use their benefits at the market. She says, “We encourage residents and visitors to use their EBT coupons at the market allowing them to enjoy the nutritious offerings. Additionally, we’ve created our own coupon/token program for residents through collaborations with local food pantries whereby residents are issued $6.00/week in tokens by LivingADK to use at the market. The income funding this offering comes directly out of our market vendor application revenue. To date, we’ve donated over $24,000 in direct nutrition to our residents in need.”
You can find the online directory of farmers’ markets at adirondackharvest.com/markets.