Written By Jane W. Graham
BLACKSBURG — The popularity of the Blacksburg Farmers’ Market, now open two days a week, and the growing number of fresh food markets across the valley shows that residents are embracing the trend to buy local when they do their grocery shopping.
The importance of farmers’ markets was recognized this week by Gov. Bob McDonnell, who proclaimed Aug. 7 to Aug. 13 Farmers’ Market Week in Virginia.
Lauren Cooper Schenker, who with her husband Andrew grows organic vegetables and herbs at Green Star Farm just outside Blacksburg, said she sells about 90 percent of their produce at the Blacksburg Farmers’ Market on Saturdays and Wednesdays. The market is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.
They also sell produce to local restaurants and health food stores.
The family started the farm in 1991 and has seen sales grow as people have become more interested in organic, locally grown foods.
“Sales are way up from last year,” Schenker said. “It has to do with the interest in local food.”
Virginia had about 200 farmers’ markets this year, an increase from 88 in 2004, said Matthew J. Lohr, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
“Farmers’ markets have seen dramatic growth in Virginia in the last few years,” Lohr said in a statement. “New farmers’ markets are popping up all over the place.”
In addition to the Blacksburg Farmers’ Market, there are farmers’ markets in Christiansburg, Radford, Pulaski, Shawsville, Bland and Wytheville. READ MORE HERE