Mid-Missouri farmers' markets increasing in demand
JEFFERSON CITY - Local farmers' markets across mid-Missouri are seeing an increase in demand and participation this growing season.
Nadia Navarrette-Tindall serves as a director at the Lincoln University Farmers' Market in Jefferson City, and said the market has expanded significantly over the past four years since its establishment.
"Through the years people now know the market exists, so there are now some of them actually targeting this market," Navarrette-Tindall said. "So they're selling more now because more people are coming."
Four years ago, the market had only 10 vendors. This season, there are 48.
Navarrette-Tindall also said there are new and different kinds of food this season because of the new farmers participating in the market.
"The diversity of produce is increasing, the diversity of fruits is increasing and we also now have access to baked goods."
Lincoln University Farmers' Market employees conducted a survey earlier this season to see what consumers thought of the market.
Navarrette-Tindall said they found that people continue coming to the market because of its close community environment and convenient location.
"We have seen not only from vendors, but from people that visit the market, that they feel that the market gives them a sense of community and that makes them come more often," Navarrett-Tindall said. "We have heard from people that it feels like going home."
Southern Boone County Farmers' Market Vendor Dan Nelson said there has been an increase in consumer participation at this market as well.
Nelson has been in the local farming business for more than 20 years and said each season he is seeing a higher demand for healthy, preservative-free, homegrown food.
"Mine comes out of the field from today to two days ago," Nelson said. "Nobody can really focus on that in the grocery store, when you go there generally it's a week or more old. And nutritional value degrades from about day two, three, lose fifty percent, sixty percent of the nutrition."
Nelson said he has also met a lot of people who are coming to the market to support their work to keep money local in the community.
"We have a lot of big corporations that come in and they funnel all the money out, they keep wages low, and with this you're keeping people right in your community employed," Nelson said. "And that's really important."
Lincoln University Farmers' Markets has seen such an increased demand that it is now open two days a week.
Southern Boone County Farmers' Market vendors said they may be opening two days a week in the future as well.