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USDA: More farmers markets expanding to winter operation

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The number of farmers markets operating in the winter increased 38 percent since 2010, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced today.

“Consumers are looking for more ways to buy locally grown food throughout the year,” said Merrigan. “Through winter markets, American farmers are able to meet this need and bring in additional income to support their families and businesses.”

The expanded use of hoop house technology has enabled smaller growers in colder climates to extend their production seasons at low cost, she added.

Markets open at least once between November and March are considered winter markets. According to the National Farmers Market Directory, the number of winter markets increased from 886 in 2010 to 1,225 in 2011.