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August 7, 2013

N.H. farmers markets are growing

Local farmers markets are thriving

For the freshest food and local growers, Jane Lang said there’s only one place to go.

“Farmers markets are just a great opportunity to find out exactly where your food comes from,” she said.

Lang organizes the Salem Farmers Market, one of several weekly markets held throughout the region. Since it started in 2010, Lang has seen that market expand in customers and vendors.

“There was a time when we’d get 100 customers each week,” she said. “Now, we average between 300 to 400.”

Lang said a big reason for the success is the effort the state has made to promote farmers markets.

Gov. Maggie Hassan declared this month “New Hampshire Eat Local Month,” and this week, the state is also celebrating National Farmers Market Week.

“To have it officially recognized is wonderful,” said Kristine Mossey, president of the New Hampshire Farmers Market Association. “The farmers are all very supportive of it.”

Mossey said there are 70 farmers markets throughout the state, a number which has increased through the last decade.

Nada Haddad, a field specialist for University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, said she is in the midst of doing research on farmers markets in the state

“People are looking at more local foods, the freshness of the product and specifically the quality of the vegetables,” she said.

But not every market has seen the same expansion.

In Derry, the town cut down its support of the market from $20,800 to $5,000 for this fiscal year. Manager Beverly Ferrante said the farmers market won’t be affiliated with the town next year.

“It’s time for us to be independent from the town,” she said.

Ferrante said the group, whose members she would not identify, is looking at two new locations, but she wouldn’t say where those were. She said losing the town’s support wouldn’t be an issue.

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