Indoor Winter Farm Market Catches on in Community, Promotes “Buy Local” Movement Year-Round

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Once limited to the summer months, farm markets throughout the United States have been expanding to the winter in communities like Northeast Wisconsin. Appleton Downtown, Incorporated, shows how its indoor farm market has achieved success in the off season and encouraged residents to buy local throughout the year.

Red Belly Farms of Chilton

The idea of buying local has really caught on here and the community wants to support area vendors year-round.

Appleton, WI – As a popular way to sample local flavors and entertainment, farm markets are no longer just a summer destination. Like the Downtown Appleton Winter Farm Market, many are moving indoors in the months of cooler, off-season temperatures to accommodate area shoppers and sellers year-round.

This new trend is gaining popularity across the United States from Wisconsin and Illinois to Ohio and New York as the “buy local” movement gains traction and the desire for locally-grown and homemade goods increases.

Kicking off its 11th year in the Fox Cities, the Downtown Appleton Winter Farm Market, organized by Appleton Downtown, Incorporated (ADI), is the area’s largest of its kind. It is held Saturday mornings from November through March and has recently become so popular that it expanded to a bigger indoor space to include another dozen vendors per week.

The Winter Farm Market builds on the summer series by offering customers a venue to purchase fresh fare and handcrafted merchandise in the months when Northeast Wisconsin experiences cooler temperatures. With over 50 vendors participating, the Winter Farm Market features a variety of food selections, including fresh produce grown in hoop houses, meat, cheese, bread, baked goods, candies and specialty items. It also showcases wares produced by area merchants and artists like clothing, jewelry and bath/body products.

As ADI farm market director Djuanna Hugdahl noted, “In our years running the Downtown Appleton Winter Farm Market, we’ve found that people aren’t just looking for fresh produce in the summer. The idea of buying local has really caught on here and the community wants to support area vendors year-round.” ADI recently received a federally funded grant from the Agricultural Marketing Service to further promote the 2012 Winter Farm Market. The money will help highlight the buy local movement and the use of EBT cards to encourage consumption of locally-grown and produced foods and products.

In addition to providing a wintertime destination that connects the community, the Winter Farm Market also runs Special Programs each week – themes include Education & Learning and Health & Wellness as well as Kids and Sample Days.

Hugdahl explained, “As the Winter Farm Market grows, we are finding ways to make it even more fun for all ages. With cooler temperatures, it’s nice to have a warm, indoor event that people can look forward to at the end of the week.”

Appleton Downtown, Inc. (ADI), is a not-for-profit community coalition in Wisconsin dedicated to an economically strong, safe, attractive and exciting downtown. For more information on events, services or businesses in Downtown Appleton, visit http://www.appletondowntown.org.

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Anne Wiegman
Appleton Downtown, Inc.
920.954.9112
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Lori Van Handel

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