Winter Farmers Market kicks off in Prescott
PRESCOTT - The drizzling rain and cold conditions didn't stop a few vendors from setting up shop on Saturday at Prescott College for the Winter Farmers Market.
The market is the first winter market to kick off in Prescott, organizer Anita Scheelings said. The market features a variety of fresh fruit and produce, baked goods, grass-fed beef, food booths and product tents.
"Winter farmers markets are a growing phenomenon all over the country. It gives people a reason to continue the agriculture culture year around," Scheelings said. "In Arizona we can grow so many things, so we really do have a lot of vegetables. Farmer markets are great incubators for local business."
According to the USDA, winter farmers markets increased 52 percent from 1,225 in 2011 to 1,864 in 2012.
While only five vendors braved this weekend's winter weather, the market's opening day on Nov. 16 showcased more than 15 vendors and live music, Scheeling said.
"We've been a part of the Prescott Farmers Market that takes place in the summertime at Yavapai College since they started 14 or 15 years ago," Whipstone Farm co-owner Shanti Rade said. "We've been learning how to grow a little later in the season and we were ready for a winter market to start."
Rade and her husband, Cory Rade, kept busy helping customers and filling baskets with produce grown on their farm in Paulden. Potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes, red onions, carrots and squash were just some of the produce the couple brought out to the market.
"I am a big farmers market person," Shelly Jackson from Chino Valley said. "I love to cook with fresh vegetables; they just add so much more flavor to the dish. I also enjoy meeting the people who grow the produce."
The college's Crossroads Café is also open during market hours, offering customers a place to warm up from the chilly weather while enjoying lunch or a snack.
The market runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday through April 26.
For more information on the market, visit www.prescottcommunitymarket.org
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