Good news Cooper-Young and Memphians! Local food lovers will be able to continue shopping for the region’s best locally produced products during the cool months in Memphis. The Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market (CYCFM) has expanded to a year-round market starting November 5, 2011. By extending the market season, the market will allow more small farmers to continue bringing in income for their families and their businesses, while also providing fresh, nutritious food to the community all year. Additionally, the market’s rapidly growing EBT/SNAP program and matching funds incentive, Double Green$, will continue to be available to food stamp recipients.
“A year-round market in Cooper-Young is a natural next step for CYCFM,” said market manager Debbi La Rue. “It gives us an opportunity to support our farmers who are now prolonging the growing season using structures such as hoophouses. Year-round also means continued access to fresh, healthful foods for area residents, including those who rely on food stamp assistance.”
“Just because it’s cool outside does not mean you can no longer get local, farm-fresh produce,” said farmer and board chair Lori Greene. “Besides the many storage and root vegetables such as carrots, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and winter squash, our farmers will have a variety of greens, such as kale, arugula, spinach, and Asian greens during the winter.”
The year-round market will feature a number of new and returning vendors selling fresh produce, meat, poultry, fish, prawns, farm eggs, regional artisan cheeses, mushrooms, breads, baked goods, honey, prepared foods, jams and preserves, and other specialty items. Locally roasted coffee will be available by the bag or the drink along with other beverages. The market’s popular Etsy and Friends Artisan Faires will continue on a regular basis, with more planned for the holiday season.
“On behalf of our farmers, food vendors, and artisans, I want to express our excitement as we take this next step in growing our local food movement,” Greene added. “And, what better place to shop, eat, and ‘get local’ than the up-and-coming Cooper-Young food district!”
The opening of the year-round market follows a growing trend of such markets across the US. There are now almost 900 winter farmers markets in the nation, which represents 14 percent of all farmers markets in the country, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s website.
The Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market is located in the parking lot of First Congregational Church at 1000 South Cooper and runs from 8am to 1pm through October 29. From November 5 through mid-April, hours will be 9am to 1pm. Ample free parking is available in First Congo’s parking lot and on the street.
The Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market, founded in 2009, is a grassroots-initiated, volunteer-run project of Slow Food Memphis, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. As its mission, CYCFM seeks to cultivate a vibrant, socially diverse community gathering place that promotes the viability of regional agriculture, fosters health and wellness, and ensures widespread access to affordable, nutritious food.