Idaho now has more than 50 farmers’ markets statewide, according to the state Department of Agriculture, which has a new guide out here, complete with locations, times and dates of operation. In the Boise area, farmers’ markets from downtown Boise to Eagle, Kuna and Mountain Home are listed. In North Idaho, there are markets from Bonners Ferry to St. Maries.
The growth in the open-air markets for fresh produce direct from those who raise it has been happening both in Idaho and nationwide; since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began tracking the numbers in 1994, the number of farmers’ markets nationwide has grown from 1,755 to 7,864 as of August, and that August figure was up 9.6 percent from a year earlier. Ten years ago, Idaho had just 22 farmers’ markets; today, it has 52.
“It’s becoming more popular – we’re seeking markets pop up all over the place,” said Kim Polzin, a trade specialist at the Idaho Department of Agriculture. “Every purchase you make at a farmers market not only feeds your family fresh and healthy products, but supports local farmers, ranchers and producers.” The state department also offers a manual here to help farmers’ markets establish and follow best practices.