Cathy Dyson writes about King George County.
Farmers market makes Top 20 in national survey
Like the children’s story about The Little Engine That Could, the King George Farmers Market continues to get attention in national contests.
The market recently placed in the Top 20 in “American’s Favorite Farmers’ Market Contest” sponsored by the American Farmland Trust. King George ranked 16th in the boutique category for markets with 15 vendors or fewer.
King George was one of nine farmers markets from Virginia on the national list. Five markets made the Top 5, and the state had more representation than any other, boasted the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
“Some of our markets are among the oldest in the nation,” said Matthew J. Lohr, VDACS commissioner. “But these are not dusty old historical markets. They are vibrant market places and community gathering spots.”
King George’s market began in May 2009 and quickly blossomed. Everything sold at the market, held on Saturdays from May to Thanksgiving at King George Elementary School, has to be grown or raised in the county or fished from its waters.
The nationwide contest pulled in thousands of votes from all over the country. Markets are categorized by the number of vendors and voters could select their favorite market in boutique, small, medium or large.
Other Virginia markets in the Top 20 included those in Richmond, Virginia Beach, Falls Church, Williamsburg and Charlottesville.
Lohr says Virginia has seen a tremendous growth in the number of farmers’ markets, from 88 in 2005 to more than 200 currently.
Consumers can search for farmers markets by location or products offered at virginiagrown.com.
Last September, King George market volunteers made a big push to have supporters vote for the market in the online competition—and it won first place.
This year, officials were busy with other market projects and didn’t have energy to focus on the online contest, said Market Manager DeLaura Padovan.
“We never really pushed it, and there we were, right up in the Top 20,” she said. “That was very exciting.”