The state department of Agriculture is making plans for a new regional farmers’ market facility. As WNPR's Marie Kuhn reports, the Hartford site will allow Connecticut farmers to sell their crops year-round.
The last 20 years has seen an explosion in interest about farmers markets. In 1986, there were 22 farmers markets in the state, now there are more than 120.
The non-profit Hartford Regional Market is the oldest farmer's market in the state, and largest produce distributor between Boston and New York.
Its seasonal market attracts about 10 thousand customers a year. But The Market's Bob Pellegrino says the state needs a much larger facility to accommodate an increased demand for fresh Connecticut grown products.
"That's the way of the future, people like to go to farmer's markets for fresh produce," said Pellegrino. "And they're supporting the industry for the state of Connecticut , but mostly because it's fresh, and it's local."
The new facility will have space for more than 50 additional farmers to sell their goods. The new, heated stalls will allow them to sell more cold weather crops, like syrup, honey, or hydroponically-grown produce.
Thanks to a grant from the US Department of Agriculture, the state was awarded a little more than 115,000 dollars for the project. Pellegrino says he hopes the total budget of the project will stay under $500,000.
The new market is expected to open in July of 2011.