Ag secretary encourages Kansans to visit community farmers’ markets
TOPEKA – Secretary of Agriculture Josh Svaty is urging Kansans to visit one or more of the state’s 92 farmers markets during August in support of Kansas Farmers’ Market Month.
“Our community farmers markets are the best place to find freshly picked fruits and vegetables grown right here in Kansas,” Svaty said. “If your family hasn’t visited the farmers’ market in your community, make time to do so soon.”
In support of the state’s farmers markets, Governor Mark Parkinson signing a proclamation declaring August Kansas Farmers Market Month and August 1 to 7 Kansas Farmers Market Week. In the proclamation, Parkinson noted that the markets serve as an integral link between urban, suburban and rural communities, and they give farmers and consumers an opportunity to interact.
Farmers markets also are an important venue for many of Kansas’ small- and medium-sized farming operations. By selling directly to the consumer, farmers can realize a higher return for their products than if they were working through a wholesale market. Plus, local farmers spend their money with local merchants, so that money stays where it benefits everyone by building a stronger local economy.
Kansas farmers markets continue to grow more popular every year. In 1987, there were only 26 markets statewide. That number grew to 92 by 2010 as a result of steadily increasing consumer interest in fresh farm products.
“The fruits and vegetables available at Kansas farmers markets typically are harvested within 24 hours of market day, and you just can’t beat that for freshness and flavor,” Svaty said. “If you’ve always been curious to try seasonal produce but are unsure how to prepare it, ask the vendor for suggestions.”