Martinsburg Farmer’s Market an example of USDA goal to promote agriculture, support communities

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MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — This summer season has consumers taking full advantage of the abundance of fresh crops and produce from farm to table. These habits are important to our local growers and the region’s agriculture.

There are 8,000 farmer’s markets across the United States. Martinsburg is proud to have one of them, not only because the Martinsburg Farmers Market is family fun to kick off a weekend, but also because it is a rewarding community experience and important to nearby family farms. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says these markets promote farm production, create jobs, have value to consumers and diversify the food table.

“It is so important to support local farmer’s markets. The produce is not as expensive as people think. I think they have a fear of going there because they’re not sure if they can get everything they’re looking for at a grocery store. They fear it might be more expensive but it’s not!” Maryann Crawley, a small business owner in town, said.

Amanda Tomlin has her own popular catering business in Martinsburg and manages the Friday evening farmers markets, which she says gives market-goers food options they otherwise might not have.

“It’s so the community can have options to eat healthier. We are located downtown and there aren’t any grocery stores for instance. So people can come every week and pick up fresh produce, fresh meats, eggs, honey,” Tomlin said.

As a focal point for the community, Tomlin says there’s more here than just stocking the pantry. The farmers market is a place to serve the community as well.

“We’ve got a young gal who — a high school student — who makes jewelry and all the proceeds go to a fundraiser for homeless or foster children for a college fund, so we’re really proud of her,” Tomlin said.

For Martinsburg’s senior high rise center, the farmers market is a special added bonus.

“In the senior towers, we deliver a hot meal to them every day. Well, they have the benefit of walking down to the farmers market in downtown, the city of Martinsburg. Because they wouldn’t normally have the transportation to get the fresh produce,” said Dianne Waldron, head of Berkeley County Meals on Wheels.

The Martinsburg farmer’s market is open every Friday evening downtown at 5 p.m. until October.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak has issued a proclamation at the start of August to recognize family farms and rural communities nationwide for connecting producers and consumers, promoting nutritional security and contributing to a resilient food system.

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