The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has announced that five Virginia farmers’ markets were ranked in the Top 20 in “American’s Favorite Farmers’ Market Contest” sponsored by the American Farmland Trust (AFT). Three of the five ranked in the Top 5 Markets.
The nationwide contest pulled in thousands of votes – sometimes for a single market – from all over the country. Markets are categorized by the number of vendors at each and voters could vote for their favorite market in one of four categories: small, mid-sized, medium or large.
Virginia’s winning markets include:
- Small, 15 vendors or fewer: Stuart Farmers’ Market, Stuart – #12 (this market ranked #14 in 2011) and Vienna Saturday Farmers’ Market, Vienna – #17
- Mid-sized, 16 to 35 vendors: Lakeside Farmers’ Market, Richmond – #2 (Lakeside ranked #3 in 2011)
- Medium, 35 to 55 vendors: Williamsburg Farmers’ Market, Williamsburg – #3 (it ranked #5 in 2011) and Falls Church Farmers’ Market, Falls Church – #4 (ranked #3 in 2011)
“We love our farmers’ markets in Virginia,” said Matthew J. Lohr, VDACS Commissioner. “We have seen tremendous growth in the number of markets, from 88 in 2005 to 227 and counting today. We also have seen dramatic growth in the number of our winter or year-round markets. A few years ago, we didn’t even count them, but last winter, we had more than 70. Some of our markets are among the oldest in the nation and some are among the newest. Because Virginia’s industry of agriculture is so diverse, so are the offerings in our farmers’ markets.”
Consumers can search for farmers’ markets by county, zip code or even products offered at VirginiaGrown.com.