(HARTFORD, CT) – With nearly all of Connecticut's 130 farmers' markets now open for the season, Governor Dannel P. Malloy is encouraging residents to eat healthy while supporting their local growers and economy by visiting one.
"We all know that there is no substitute for fresh, locally-grown food," said Governor Malloy, a frequent customer at markets in Hartford. "Right now is the time to take advantage of the incredible quality and diversity of products being offered at farmers' markets across our state."
Local sweet corn is now in season, as well as blueberries, raspberries and most popular vegetables. Other farm products such as honey, jams, soaps, baked goods, eggs, cheeses and meats can also be found at many of the markets.
The number of state farmers' markets has roughly doubled in the last decade as demand for local products has risen. Connecticut also leads New England in the number of new farms created in recent years.
Agriculture contributes about $3.5 billion into Connecticut's economy and represents about 28,000 jobs. Governor Malloy has strongly supported a variety of programs to support agriculture, including the Farmland Preservation Program that protects existing farms from development and the Farmland Restoration Program, which puts more acres into active production through grants that help farmers clear overgrown, fallow land.
"Agriculture is thriving in Connecticut and farmers' markets are the showcase for the exceptional fruits and vegetables and other farm products being offered by our growers," Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky said. "The increased interest in local food and the state's solid support system for our farm families means consumers can find a market in just about any urban, suburban or rural community."
Many farmers' markets also allow purchases through SNAP, WIC and senior-nutrition voucher programs. This season, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to offer farmers' market vouchers to lower-income military veterans and those with a service-connected disability.
A complete listing of farmers' markets and information on programs that protect and restore farmland are available on the Dept. of Agriculture's website: CTGrown.gov.
A map of Connecticut's farmers' markets can be found at data.ct.gov.