Shoppers rank Va. farmers’ markets among best in country

RICHMOND—Eight Virginia farmers’ markets recently were named among the top in the country. Two were ranked first in their size categories.

"I think this shows that farmers’ markets in the state are among the best there are, and that means Virginians can easily access fresh, local fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and baked goods," said Chris Cook, agriculture enterprise development coordinator for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. "Many of our farmer members sell their products at farmers’ markets, and we’re glad to know that citizens are supporting them, as evidenced by their votes."

Consumers voted for their favorite farmers’ market in the American Farmland Trust’s "America’s Favorite Farmers Markets" contest.

The Falls Church City Market took top honors in the medium category for markets with 31 to 55 vendors, and the King George Farmers’ Market came in first in the boutique category for markets with 15 or fewer vendors.

"We are very happy and excited to be named one of the top markets," said Howard Herman, manager of the Falls Church market. The city market has been around for 25 years but struggled at the beginning to get both vendors and customers, he said. It now has 45 vendors and as many as 2,000 visitors on a good day, and it is open year-round.

"A lot of people shop here because it keeps the small, local farmers in business," Herman said.

Also in the medium category, The Farmers’ Market at St. Stephens in Richmond was rated fifth, the Williamsburg Farmers’ Market ninth and The Historic Roanoke City Market 13th. In addition to King George in the boutique category, the Stuart Farmers’ Market was ranked 16th.

In the large market category, for those with 56 or more vendors, the Goochland Farmers’ Market ranked 12th. In the small market category, which is for markets with 10 to 30 vendors, the Purcellville Community Market came in fourth.

Contact Herman at 703-248-5024.

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