(GREAT BARRINGTON and WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – Berkshire Grown’s 2012 Holiday Farmers’ Markets were the most successful markets yet in the organization’s four-year-history of providing the opportunity for local farmers and food producers to market during an extended season in New England. Berkshire Grown facilitated an economic impact of more than $133,000 for participating market vendors – a $33,000, 33 percent increase from revenues reported by vendors in 2011.
The four markets were held on two weekends in November and December in Great Barrington at the Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School and in Williamstown at the Williams College Towne Field House. Berkshire Grown brought together nearly 70 regional vendors in November and 85 vendors in December. Each market ran for four hours. More than 2,800 people visited the two pre-Thanksgiving markets, generating over $65,000 in vendor income. The pre-Christmas December markets were attended by more than 2,500 people, and generated over $68,000 in vendor income.
“We’re thrilled by the success of the Holiday Farmers’ Markets,” said Barbara Zheutlin, executive director of Berkshire Grown. “The farmers’ markets generated more than $133,000 for local vendors, providing the most delicious way to strengthen the local economy. Berkshire Grown’s farmers’ markets provide a great opportunity for farmers and local food producers to sell directly to community members at a fun event.”
A major sponsor of the markets was the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources which provided financial support to promote buying directly from Massachusetts farmers as part of the state’s “Massachusetts grown…and fresher!” campaign. Their website provides links to local farmers throughout the state.
Williams College was also a major sponsor of the markets. As part of Williams College’s ongoing commitment to sustainable food and local agriculture, the college donated the Williamstown venue as well as provided funding toward the event. The Williams College Sustainable Food and Agriculture Program and The Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives support the markets as a community partnership to further incorporate the principles of sustainability into the fabric of campus life.
In addition to generous support from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and Williams College, a major sponsor of the event was The Williamstown Chamber of Commerce. Additional sponsors included Berkshire Co-op Market, Berkshire Organics, Kimball Farms, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Mezze Bistro + Bar and Allium Restaurant + Bar, Sweet Brook Farm and The Red Lion Inn.
2013 Holiday Farmers’ Markets
Due to the popularity and success of the Holiday Farmers’ Markets, Berkshire Grown plans to produce similar markets in late fall of 2013. The events will take place in Great Barrington and Williamstown with markets scheduled on weekends before Thanksgiving and before Christmas. More details will be announced in the coming months.
Berkshire Grown’s Holiday Farmers’ Markets connect farmers and food producers directly with members of the community, strengthening the Berkshire Grown farm-to-table network. The Holiday Farmers’ Markets create new opportunities for farmers and food producers to increase sales of locally produced and preserved agricultural products, helping to boost the local economy.
Berkshire Grown supports and promotes local agriculture as a vital part of the Berkshire community, economy and landscape. The non-profit organization’s mission is to “Keep farmers farming!” It is the “go-to” network linking farmers and the Berkshire community. Through events, workshops, promotions, advocacy and education highlighting locally grown and produced food, Berkshire Grown helps to create a thriving local food economy. For more information or to become a member, visit Berkshire Grown or call 413.528.0041.