Courtesy of The Boise Weekly
On Saturday, Boise’s Capital City Public Market opened to t-shirt weather and farmers with piles of produce, thanks to a mild spring. Along with the opening of the Eagle Saturday Market the same day, it was prelude to fifty-some farmers markets planning to open across Idaho this season.
Last year, when I interviewed Laura Johnson, with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, she said, “We’ve seen a tremendous amount of growth in farmers markets over the last few years. The number of markets has more than doubled since 2006. ”
The ISDA’s Farmers Market Manual goes on to say, “Consumers understand local produce is not only fresher and tastier, but that purchasing it can have positive effects on the environment and the local economy. Agriculture is a vital part of many Idaho communities, large and small. Farmers’ Market patrons support family farms and the preservation of farmland which is not just a part of Idaho’s heritage, but a vital part of it’s future as well.
Farmers’ Markets affect the local economy in many ways. Money spent at the market, whether it goes to a farmer, specialty food producer, or crafter, is then re-circulated within the community.”
The ISDA puts out a yearly Idaho Farmers Markets Guide that lists all the markets in the state. Together with venerable markets like Boise’s and Eagle’s, Johnson said new farmers markets continue to pop up all over Idaho.
Guy Hand is a writer, public radio producer and photographer specializing in food and agriculture.