Dear Champions of Local Fresh Fresh Food,
Life is full of surprises – and some are amazing! There we were feeling like it couldn’t get much better after celebrating North Union’s 20-year anniversary and becoming a strong 10-market certified producer-only system — when a call came into our office. It was the USDA in Washington, DC asking us to meet with an Advance Team for the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.
Wow. Out of 8,000+ farmers markets in the country, the Secretary of Agriculture chose to visit our
market in honor of National Farmers Market Week. A week prior to the visit, his staff and secret service team met with us to learn more about our operation and to walk the site of our Saturday market at Shaker Square. Mr.Vilsack recognized the work we do and the success we have achieved. Many of our farms received USDA grants for “high tunnel farming” using plastic on tall arched hoops to create protective places for a longer growing season. Mr.Vilsack was very interested in seeing any impact and positive changes in these small farm operations. Yes, it’s been a good year… and a lot of hard work.
In 2015,we certified and trained many new farms: Quiroz Farm, Hawkeye Farm, Kai Cultured Mushroom, Forest Fungi Farm,Tombstone Farm, Hartzler Berry, Holmes County Garlic, and Pure Dawn Organic Farm. We were also pleased to see our anchor farms harvest successful peach crops and add varietals of produce to their tables. It’s so rewarding to see small farm businesses grow and bring new local foods to our markets!
But what issue remains first in our heart? Providing access to those who most need healthy fresh foods. This year USDA is supporting our efforts through a grant specifically connecting folks who receive SNAP (food stamps) with fresh and local foods at farmers markets. Thank you for shopping at North Union Farmers Market – and for supporting our growth. For the 2016 market season, we have more big plans. We truly need your support to make them happen.
We are 20 years and growing! With our Board of Directors and Staff, please join us with financial support to keep fresh, healthy, local foods accessible to all!