During the 20th century, everything changed. More and better roads were built. And as more modern methods of refrigeration were invented, it became possible to transport produce from large commercial farms to centers thousands of miles away. Wholesalers took advantage of opportunities to place fruits and vegetables produced by large commercial growers into neighborhood supermarkets and chain and convenience stores, all owned by even larger corporations.
The local market all but disappeared, and the small farmer found himself less and less able to compete. Farmers markets began making a comeback in the 1960s and ‘70s, probably partly due to the back-to-the-land movement, a North American counter-cultural phenomenon that gave preference to self-sufficiency and local food production. In recent years, as concerns about food safety and sustainable energy have increased, interest in locally produced food has continued to build, and farmers markets are enjoying an upsurge in popularity.
Early in the 21st century, things appear to have come full circle. Farmers markets are increasing in popularity in all 50 states. As of mid-2011, according to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, there were 7,175 farmers markets throughout the United States, a 17 percent increase from 2010. And Americans now spend billions of dollars annually at farmers markets.
Farmers markets are now open for the season all over the North Country. To the best of my knowledge, there are farmers markets in Akwesasne, the AuSable Valley, Canton, Chateaugay Lake, Elizabethtown, Keene, Keeseville, Long Lake, Lowville, Malone, Massena, Norwood, Plattsburgh (two locations), Paul Smiths, Port Henry, Potsdam, Saranac Lake, Schroon Lake, Speculator, Ticonderoga, Tupper Lake, Wadhams and Wilmington. And I’m sure there are some I’ve missed. All are open on different days and at different times.
Information can be found at the following websites: http://www.adirondackfarmersmarket.com.