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Winter Marketing: let the good times roll ...

(post, Franklin Farmers' Market)

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If you have visited our market this year, you couldn't help but notice the enthusiasm building within our local food scene. Visitorship has doubled year after year and the demand for local food has skyrocketed. This year we added nearly twenty new family farms to our market and dozens of artists and craftspeople.

Direct marketing has emerged as a primary source of income for our producers, either through sales at our farmers markets or Community Subscription programs (CSAs). Because of this, more of your grocery money is getting back to the family farm. A steady, loyal and expanding customer base is making it possible for our farmers to incrementally expand their production. This means they can bring a broader variety of offerings, in greater quantities and are able to make investments in market extension strategies. Using innovations like hoop houses, cold frames, indoor growing and even hydroponics, several of our farmers now have the ability to offer fresh local food during what was previously been seen as the "off season".

In addition, our "grass" farmers are still milking their cows, gathering eggs and marketing meats and cheeses throughout the fall and winter. There is also a small legion of industrious artisans and bakers who grace our market, so it is easy to see how the Board concluded that a twelve month market was the inevitable next step in our growth. 

We are proud to announce that the Franklin Farmers Market host an outdoor venue behind the Factory from November 1st, 2008 until April 25th 2009. The market will open at 10 am instead of 8 am. The official closing time is currently set at 12 noon, but some farmers / producers may choose to stay longer as business dictates. Our e-mail notifications will be a bi-monthly service and our web-site will feature more farm information and links to facilitate pre-orders.

For those who have not yet done this, we encourage you to speak directly to your favorite producers and get on their e-mail lists. Customers can then be alerted to products producers are bringing to market, be quoted a price and allowed to pre-order on a will-call basis. Pre-orders have the benefit of being pre-packed before you arrive so you can get back in your warm car quicker. This has proven to be a good idea for this time of year.

Vendors are still determining when and if they will be at the market over this next season, but we have heard from several and are pleased to announce that you can expect to see Delvin Farms, Eaton's Creek Organics, Three Meadows Farms, Hatcher Family Dairies, Jones Mill Farm and Certified Kitchen, West Wind Farms, Alchemy of Sol Soaps regularly. 

You can also expect pre-holiday events that will allow you to shop with some of the great artisans and crafters you have come to know at our market. The Franklin Farmers Market Association is deeply committed to the relationship it has with the community and looks forward to growing together with you over the next six months. We hope you will continue to come over the next six months.