June 24, 2012

Farmers markets deserve support


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:,

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Gast_Richard.jpg Drip irrigation has many benefits

    The system targets the correct amount of moisture directly to plants while not washing away nutrients, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Climate assessment a cautionary tale

    Major impacts of global warming will have a profound impact on the region's future, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    June 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Be a locavore

    Farmers markets offer easy way to support local agriculture, maintain a nutritious diet, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    June 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Raised-bed gardening workshop offered

    Cooperative Extension may have a better way to conveniently grow vegetables, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    May 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Asparagus offers a taste of spring

    Cultivation of widely grown delicacy goes back to ancient times, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    May 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Maple sugaring season is underway

    Climate change has generally pushed back the season, but this year has been an exception, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Seed-starting workshop offered

    Cooperative Extension offers everything you will need to start a successful garden from scratch, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    March 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Addiction to energy has costs

    Damage to environment, climate change just two of the problems caused by runaway energy consumption, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    March 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Timber management has many benefits

    The use of applicable timber-management practices can help deer survive the winter, according to columnist Richard Gast

    February 23, 2014 1 Photo