When I think of warmer weather, a few things that come to mind are spending time outside with my family, school vacation for my kids and shopping at farmers markets with fresh, locally grown produce, meats and crafts from around the Mohawk Valley.
Our farms are a very important part of New York State’s economy, and they have been for generations. Agriculture generates approximately $5 billion a year in economic activity for New York State and many of the 37,000 farms located here are small, family-owned businesses with longstanding investments in our communities. And, as you would imagine, with such a large number of farms, their products include everything from cheese and yogurt to fruits and vegetables, meats, grains and more. By purchasing locally produced foods, we’re investing in our community.
Farmers markets not only give us access to fresh, locally grown produce, but they’re a fun place to shop for the whole family. Besides all of the unique items that farmers markets offer, they provide a great place to sample prepared foods, and often include demonstrations on cooking, farming, crafting and live entertainment.
Purchasing goods that are grown and produced close to home means your food doesn’t have to travel far to make it to your table. Since less gas is used in its transportation, and less packaging is used to keep food fresh while it’s on its way to your local market, supporting farmers markets is good for the environment. On the same note, because less gas and packaging is used – expenses that are ultimately factored into the final cost of the food you purchase – prices are often better too.
There are several local farmers markets in our community that I encourage you and your family to check out:
- Oneida County Public Market: Utica’s Union Station in Downtown Utica www.oneidacountymarket.com
- Rome Farmers Market: 100 Block of W. Dominick St. (next to Rome Savings Bank)
- Utica Farmers Market: Chancellor Park, Elizabeth Street, Downtown Utica
- Whitesboro Farmers Market: Whitesboro Village Green, Main and Clinton streets
Shopping at farmers markets and investing in locally produced foods and products provides fresh, healthy alternatives for you and your family to enjoy, all while giving back to our local economy. As always, if you have any questions about this or any other important community issue, please contact my office at 732-1055 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.