By Sally Voth -- email@example.com
Gov. Bob McDonnell has proclaimed Aug. 5 to 11 Farmers' Market Week.
McDonnell's proclamation notes that in the past six years, the number of farmers' markets in the state has grown from 88 to 208, and that such markets play a key role in promoting both local economic development and health and wellness.
"Whereas, farmers' markets play a vital role in giving farms direct access to consumers; and Whereas, farmers' markets provide the public with ready access to high quality fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, organic items, cheeses, baked goods, meats, homemade preserves and more that are fresh, traceable and competitively priced..." the proclamation states.
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Matthew Lohr credits the short time between "field to fork," which maximizes products' "time-sensitive flavors and nutrients," as being a factor in farmers' markets' popularity, according to a VDACS news release.
It states there are now more than 40 winter markets.
According to the release, some markets now accept debit and credit cards, and some can take Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cards -- formerly known as food stamps.
The Woodstock Farmers' Market is exploring the possibility of accepting SNAP vouchers, manager Shelley Long said. She said she's filled out a grant application related to that, and said it would be beneficial in getting fresh produce to needy families.
The Front Royal Farmers' Market isn't quite ready for the new technology, manager Larry Scislowicz said.
"We looked into it several times," he said. "Unfortunately, it takes quite a bit of administrative staff to administer the program. Unfortunately, we're just a little bit too junior of a market to take that on yet."
Scislowicz noted the Front Royal market is all volunteer.
"Things are going well," he said. "We're in our fourth year. We've got 15 vendors signed up."
The Front Royal Farmers' Market is from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays at the gazebo downtown, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at the Warren County Government Center.
The Woodstock market is 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at Fort Valley Nursery.