Thursday, August 21, 2008

Highly Successful State Fair Farmers’ Market

The Missouri Department of Agriculture along with the Missouri Farmers’ Market Association and AgriMissouri held the first ever Farmers’ Market at the 2008 Missouri State Fair the past two weeks. After 11 days of running the market in the Agriculture Building on the state fairgrounds the market brought in over $4,822.97 in sales and was a big hit at the fair. All funds raised will go back to the MDA to use for marketing and educational needs to promote the Missouri Farmers' Market industry.

Local produce was sold from eight different Missouri farmers’ market vendors and the market was utilized by fair campers, local Sedalia residents and fair visitors. More than 175,000 individuals came through the Buy Missouri…Buy Local, Eat Local….Got 4 It area during the fair. The area focused on the importance of supporting local farmers and forest product companies. The Buy Missouri area also offered visitors not only a farmers’ market where they could purchase local fruits and vegetables, but information on Agritourism operations and community markets around the state, an interactive area that included two computer set-ups where consumers could log on to the web and find a market near their home, plan their next Agritourism adventure, locate area forest companies and purchase local Missouri forestry products.

More than 37 volunteers, which included MDA staff, farmers’ market vendors and markets masters, forestry industry companies and Master Gardeners from around the state, donated their time to run the area throughout the fair.

Heirloom tomatoes from Fahrmeier Farms in Lexington were showcased and visitors could taste the freshness of Missouri through taste testing of more than six varieties of heirlooms. Other products sold included tomatoes, eggplant and cucumbers from Anderson Produce of Centertown, cantaloupe, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers from The Veggie Patch of Glasgow, peppers, grape tomatoes, onions from Fahrmeier Farms, sweet corn from Lowell Mohler of Jefferson City and David Kottman of Armstrong, watermelons from Freeman Farms in Tipton and peaches from Peach Tree Farms in Boonville and Rasa Orchard in Lexington.

The market not only provided a fun addition to the Agriculture Building this year, but educated consumers on the importance of buying local and eating healthy. In addition, a Missouri Farmers' Market Media Event was held on August 9 to promote Missouri Farmers' Market Week August 3-9, with a reading of a Proclamation by Director of Agriculture Don Steen.

The MDA is already underway planning for next year’s State Fair Farmers’ Market.

Take a look photos from the State Fair Farmers’ Market.

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