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Iowans love farmers markets

Farmers market

National Farmers Market Week runs from Aug. 5 to 11, and Iowans are encouraged to take advantage of the fresh fruits and vegetables available at more than 220 farmers markets throughout the state.

The Iowa Farm Bureau is proud to support the state’s farmers markets and the farmers who work hard to provide Iowans with locally grown, nutritious meats, poultry, eggs and produce.

This year, the Iowa Farm Bureau donated more than 1 million recyclable plastic bags to more than 1,700 farmers market vendors throughout the state.

The market bags help Iowa farmers save the extra cost of buying their own bags, while also making it more convenient for customers to safely transport the locally grown produce home. This was the 10th year that Iowa Farm Bureau has donated the bags.

In addition, the Iowa Farm Bureau helped launch a successful pilot project that expanded the availability of wireless EBT equipment at farmers markets statewide. The EBT equipment allows farmers to accept debit and credit cards, as well as SNAP cards, which helps increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for all Iowans.

Iowa ranks fourth in the number of farmers markets in the United States and second in the number of markets per capita. According to Iowa State University, farmers markets in Iowa contribute an estimated $59.4 million in gross sales to the state economy, generating $17.8 million in payroll and nearly 600 jobs in the state.

Boone County Farm Bureau members Greg and Polly Rinehart, whose family sells produce and ready-to-eat sandwiches at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market, appreciate the support they receive from Iowans who shop farmers markets and the bags Iowa Farm Bureau provides.

“Our family, including the grandkids, enjoy the time we spend meeting new people at farmers markets,” said Greg Rinehart. “As farmers, we love answering the questions our customers have about how their food is grown, and we’ve created some great friendships with the people who see us every Saturday during the farmers market season.”

To find the dates and times of all of Iowa’s farmers markets, visit the Iowa Department of Land and Ag Stewardship website at http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/horticultureandFarmersMarket.asp.

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