For Immediate Release - August 04, 2014

Patrick Administration Proclaims August 3 to 9 Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week

BOSTON – Monday, August 4, 2014 – The Patrick Administration is celebrating farmers’ markets and local agriculture, as Governor Deval Patrick proclaimed the week of August 3 - 9 as Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week. Farmers’ markets are an important part of Massachusetts’ diverse agriculture sector, providing unique benefits to communities across the Commonwealth. Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week coincides with the 15th National Farmers’ Market Week as USDA celebrates our nation's thousands of farmers’ markets.

“Farmers’ markets are essential to the vitality of Massachusetts farms and communities,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett. “They provide an invaluable opportunity to consumers to meet the local farmers who grow and produce our food, while supporting our economy.”

“I am delighted to recognize the growing popularity and opportunity farmers’ markets have seen in recent years,” said Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) Commissioner Greg Watson.“The farmers who make these markets possible and the communities that host them reflect the best of the buy local movement. The Massachusetts and National Farmers’ Market Weeks recognize the important role that farmers’ markets play in the agricultural and food economy here in the Bay State and across the country.”

"Massachusetts has the sixth-largest number of farmers’ markets in the nation, and consumers should take advantage of the summer produce," said Liz Morningstar, CEO of the Boston Public Market. "Farmers’ Market Week is a great opportunity for Massachusetts families to enjoy fresh, locally grown and produced food at their local farmers markets."

Governor Patrick’s proclamation will be read by DAR Commissioner Watson at the Cape Ann Farmers’ Market in Gloucester on Thursday, August 7. The same day, the U.S. Postal Service will be issuing four farmers’ markets stamps in Washington D.C. The stamps will feature the diversity of locally grown and produced farmers’ market fare such as produce, various fresh baked goods, artisan cheeses, eggs, cut flowers, and various potted herbs. Most items bear handwritten labels that identify the product and its price.

With over 250 farmers’ markets open this summer and fall, shoppers in communities across the state – urban, suburban, and rural alike – have easy access to an array of freshly harvested fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers, as well as local farm items such as maple syrup, honey, eggs, meat, poultry, baked goods, wine, jams and jellies.

DAR compiles an annual list of Massachusetts farmers’ markets, listing days, locations, times, and opening and closing dates for each market. An interactive map of farmers’ markets statewide is available at http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/farmers_markets.htm.

The Patrick Administration is committed to growing the agriculture economy. More than $55 million has been invested in the APR program, resulting in the permanent protection of more than 180 farms and more than 10,000 acres. In addition, $7 million has been put towards farmer training, business development, on-farm energy efficiency and more. The Commonwealth has also launched one of the nation’s first state-funded urban farming initiatives, ranks fifth in the nation for direct market sales, hosts 134 farmers’ markets that accept SNAP and since 2007 has seen a 95 percent increase in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and growth in agri-tourism sales of 127 percent.

DAR’s mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions – Agricultural Conservation & Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health, and Crop and Pest Services – DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth’s agricultural community to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture’s role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit DAR’s website at www.mass.gov/agr, and/or follow at twitter.com/mdarcommish.

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