Number of Farmers Markets growing - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Number of Farmers Markets growing

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Despite the winter weather, the indoor Farmers Market was bustling Saturday morning.

The Dubuque Winter Farmers Market is just one of nearly 900 winter Farmers Markets across the US, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

"It's a thriving market," organic farmer Walt Wisnewski said at Dubuque's market Saturday morning.

"Fresh-grown produce is appealing to a lot of people," he said.

Kristi Wackershauser has a stand every week.

"Every Saturday morning, all year long," she said.

She started Kristi's Perfect Produce and sells at the indoor market when it's open Nov. through April and at Dubuque's outdoor Farmers Market the rest of the year.

Vendors say hundreds of customers attend Dubuque's indoor Farmers Market every week.

"What we have is altogether different from what you're going to find at the super market," Wisnewski said.

In the winter, however, "It's very hard to grow greens from Christmas to the middle of February," Wackershauser said.

The winter Farmers Market sees fewer fruits and veggies than Dubuque's warm-weather counterpart, but instead, Wackershauser said, customers can find "a lot of protein. You get a lot of cheese, a lot of meat, a lot of eggs."

She said the market keeps her in touch with customers all year round.

"Customers just don't get that at the grocery store," Wackershauser said. "They come to the farmers market and they can meet their grower, and - same thing here - we love seeing our customers and making that relationship and seeing family members come together."

The USDA lists more than 6,100 Farmers Markets nationwide. That's a 16 percent increase from 2009 to 2010.

The USDA lists Iowa fifth in the nation for number of Farmers Markets. That number includes both winter and summer markets.

Click HERE to search for a Farmers Market near you or click the link on this page.

The Dubuque Winter Farmers Market is located at 1101 Central Avenue and is open from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays through April.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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