According to the Connecticut Dept. of Agriculture (CT DoAG) seasonal farmers’ markets in the state have increased from a total of 22 in 1986 to 114 in 2008! And, I have definitely seen an increase in the number of customers roaming my local farmers’ market over the past few years.
Well, in what I think is exciting news, the CT DoAG has gotten some money from the federal government to turn the Hartford Regional Market into a year-round market full of locally grown goods!
Currently, the Hartford Regional Market is a non-profit, self-sustaining seasonal market operating in an open-air pavilion. They say it attracts an average of 10,000 customers ever year. It’s the largest perishable food distribution facility between Boston and New York.
So now, the CT DoAG has been granted $116,865 through the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to design a larger, enclosed facility that would accommodate more specialty crop producers, products, and customers, and would allow the market to operate year-round. The target date for construction completion is July 1, 2011.
I love to see more markets and more consumer demand. Connecticut has so many wonderful local farmers and locally made goods. It may be a couple of years away, but hopefully this new year-round market will benefit both the local producers and the local consumers. It’s kind of like the saying: “If you build it, they will come!”