Governor Baker has proclaimed August 7-13, 2016 \u201cMassachusetts Farmers\u2019 Market Week\u201d in recognition of\u00a0the positive contributions\u00a0Massachusetts\u2019 farmers\u2019 markets have on agriculture and public health in the Commonwealth. The weeklong event coincides with the 17th National Farmers\u2019 Market Week as the United States Department of Agriculture celebrates the nation\u0027s thousands of farmers\u2019 markets.\n\n\u201cThis week, we celebrate the Commonwealth\u2019s many farmers\u2019 markets, which create economic vitality for hundreds of farms and food producers while supporting local communities,\u201d said Governor Charlie Baker. \u201cI urge all Massachusetts residents to visit their local farmers\u2019 market this week to buy some fresh, local produce and support our hard-working farmers.\u201d\n\n\u201cFarmers work hard all year long to deliver high-quality, nutritious products to residents living in cities and towns all across Massachusetts,\u201d said Lieutenant Governor Karen Polito. \u201cWe are proud to recognize the farmers\u2019 markets which help ensure community camaraderie and the continued viability of family farms.\u201d\u00a0\n\n\u201cThe continued growth of farmers\u2019 markets in Massachusetts has helped to sustain many of our family farms and are an important tool in helping to preserve thousands of acres of our state\u2019s farmland,\u201d said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton. \u201cEnsuring all Massachusetts residents have access to fresh, healthy food is a priority for this administration, and supporting farmers\u2019 markets throughout the Commonwealth is crucial to making that goal a reality.\u201d\n\nMassachusetts hosts approximately 248 summer and fall farmers\u2019 markets and 40 winter farmers\u2019 markets across the Commonwealth. At nearly $48 million, Massachusetts ranks 5th in the nation for direct market sales and 3rd in the nation for direct market sales per operation. \u00a0Direct market sales account for 10 percent of the state\u2019s total sales of agricultural products.\n\n\u201cAugust is an ideal time to recognize farmers\u2019 markets as we are entering Massachusetts\u2019 peak harvest season in the coming weeks,\u201d said Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux. \u201cIt\u2019s fitting that we recognize the hard work and countless hours farmers\u2019 market managers and volunteers put in, year-round, to bring farmers\u2019 markets to their communities.\u201d\n\nIn recent years there has been an increase in the number of farmers markets accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Of Massachusetts\u2019 248 summer farmers\u2019 markets, 154 currently accept SNAP, an increase from 142 at this time last year.\n\n\u201cFarmers\u2019 markets offer an important access point for residents to access fresh, local, and healthy foods,\u201d said Department of Transitional Assistance Commissioner Jeff McCue. \u201cI am encouraged that more and more markets across the state now accept SNAP benefits to allow those in need to stretch their dollar while supporting local agriculture.\u201d\n\nOn Monday, August 8 at 3:30pm, DAR Commissioner Lebeaux and DTA Commissioner McCue will join state and community partners at the Beverly Farmers\u2019 Market in Veterans\u2019 Park to kick off Massachusetts Farmers\u2019 Market Week. After brief remarks and a reading of Governor Baker\u2019s proclamation, a cooking demonstration will be held by nutrition educators from the UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program. \u00a0\n\nDAR compiles an annual list of Massachusetts farmers\u2019 markets, listing days, locations, times, and opening and closing dates for each market. An interactive map of farmers\u2019 markets statewide is available here.