Just when it seems winter will never end, the W.Va. Department of Agriculture is hosting two farmers' markets to support growers and marketers whose livelihoods are being sustained by innovations in agriculture.
The use of high tunnels and other advances is allowing West Virginia farmers to extend growing seasons and provide products year-round, which is why markets in February and March are possible, says W.Va. Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt.
“Innovations in agriculture are allowing farmers to extend the growing season. Climate is becoming less of a factor on what we can eat locally,” Leonardt said.
A Winter Blues market in the north is scheduled for Thursday, February 22, from 4-8 p.m. at the Morgantown Event Center.
A Winter Blues market in the north is scheduled for Sunday, March 4, from 12:30-5 p.m. at the Charleston Civic Center.
The events are intended to highlight West Virginia food and agriculturally based artisan or crafted products.
Vendors from across the state will feature their best products — from just-bottled maple syrup to heirloom popcorn, from farm-fresh eggs to goats’ milk soap.
Shoppers will also find fresh vegetables grown in greenhouses and high tunnels in the middle of winter.
Craft items must use materials produced or grown in West Virginia.
“We hope people come out and support their local farmers, and our aim is to have even more vendors than previous years,” Leonhardt said.
Last year’s Winter Blues in the south featured 57 vendors, and 4,000-plus shoppers purchased $46,000. All the money went straight to the producers.
This year, organizers hope to feature even more West Virginia products.
Space is still available for producers at Winter Blues South. Booths are $75 per vendor. For more information, contact Connie Tolley at 304-558-2210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.