Food & Dining
USDA Celebrates National Farmers Market Week, August 4-10 Confirms Growth and Sustainability in Farmers Markets PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Monday, 05 August 2013 09:43
Confirms Growth and Sustainability in Farmers Markets

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2013 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Saturday celebrated National Farmers Market Week with a kick-off event at the Columbia Heights Farmers Market in Washington, D.C.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that 8,144 farmers markets are now listed in USDA's National Farmers Market Directory, up from about 5,000 in 2008. The Directory, voluntarily updated by farmers market managers, state departments of agriculture, marketing associations, and others, is published online at farmersmarkets.usda.gov. This year, the Directory has been upgraded to include a new Application Programming Interface (API) that improves customer access to farmers market data.

"Farmers markets are an important public face for agriculture and a critical part of our nation's food system," said Secretary Tom Vilsack. "They provide benefits not only to the farmers looking for important income opportunities, but also help fill a growing consumer demand for fresh, healthy foods. In recent years, USDA has stepped up efforts to support local and regional marketing opportunities for producers, including a modernized Farmer's Market Directory to help connect farmers, consumers, communities, and businesses around the country."

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator Anne Alonzo spoke at Saturday's farmers market celebration at Washington, D.C.'s Columbia Heights Marketplace announcing the newly updated National Farmers Market Directory information.

"Due to consumer demand for local food we are seeing an increase in the diversity of market offerings, and more participation from small businesses and farms," Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Anne Alonzo said. "This year we are focusing on the sustainability and maturity of farmers markets- keeping new and old markets thriving and improving. Farmers markets around the country continue to be popular social events for families and communities."

Local food and direct marketing opportunities, including farmers markets, are one of the fastest growing segments of agriculture. According to the latest Census of Agriculture, direct sales of food products from farmers to individual consumers rose by nearly 50 percent between 2002 and 2007. Worth an estimated $1 billion in 2005, local food sales grew to $4.8 billion in 2007 and nearly $7 billion last year, according to industry estimates. For nearby businesses in major cities across the U.S., having a farmers market nearby means an average increase in sales of anywhere from $19,000 to $15 million (according to a Marketumbrella research paper published in 2012).

The 10 top states account for over half (51.3 percent) of all markets listed in the Directory database:

1. California (759)

2. New York (637)

3. Illinois (336)

4. Michigan (331)

5. Ohio (300)

6. Pennsylvania (290)

7. Massachusetts (289)

8. Wisconsin 286)

9. Missouri (New to list in 2013 – in 2012 was ranked 19th) (246)

9. Virginia (tie) (246)

10. Iowa (229)

10. North Carolina (tie) (229)

Geographic regions like the mid-Atlantic (Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia) increased to a 11.98 percent market share in 2013, from a 11.65 percent in 2012, the Northeast (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) increased to a 29.11 percent market share in 2013, from a 27.48 percent share in 2012, and the Southeast region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee) increased to a 5.03 percent market share in 2013, from a 4.79 percent share in 2012.

USDA has taken several steps to support direct marketing farmers as part of the Department's commitment to support local and regional food systems, and increase consumer access to fresh, healthy food in communities across the country. For example:

  • The USDA launched a new API for the National Farmers Market Directory in May which helps consumers locate farmers markets nearby. APIs enable programmers to interact directly with an open data source to work with real-time data—rather than a static data export that can become immediately out of date. The development is part of USDA's commitment to expanding opportunities for our local farmers markets and small businesses.
  • USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), has outfitted more farmers markets with the ability to accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), to improve access to fresh produce and healthy foods by SNAP recipients. USDA recently announced $4 million dollars in available funding to help farmers markets and direct marketing farmers purchase and operate wireless point-of-sale equipment. Currently, over 3,800 farmers markets are authorized to accept SNAP in FY 2012, and farmers markets generate over $16 million in SNAP sales.
  • USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative serves the growing local and regional market segment. This Initiative coordinates and strengthens USDA's work on local and regional food systems.

Many markets will host fun activities to celebrate National Farmers Market Week, including pie contests, festivals, cooking demonstrations, events for kids, raffle drawings and giveaways. USDA officials will visit markets around the country between Aug. 4 and Aug. 10, to honor growers and commemorate National Farmers Market Week.

The USDA National Farmers Market Directory is available at farmersmarkets.usda.gov. Users can search this year's enhanced directory for farmers markets based on location, available products, and types of payment accepted, including participation in federal nutrition programs such as SNAP and WIC. Farmers markets that participate in federal nutrition program improve access to healthy food in underserved communities across the country.

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Eighteen New Foods to Debut at 2013 Iowa State Fair PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Lori Chappell   
Tuesday, 23 July 2013 13:04

DES MOINES, IA (07/22/2013)(readMedia)-- "Happiness Is" new Fair foods and treats set to make their debut at the 2013 Iowa State Fair, August 8-18. The fresh menu offerings join the list of nearly 200 food choices available throughout the Fairgrounds.

Ten additional new foods will join the eight previously announced items that were part of the Fair's new food contest. Those eight foods, all served on-a-stick, include: Shrimp Corndog, Strawberry Smoothie, Bacon Wrapped Riblet, Sweet Corn Corndog, Deep Fried Brownie, Coconut Mountain, Rib Shack Cowboy and Soft Salted Chocolate-Dipped Almond Pretzel.

Other new foods include:

• Carmel Apple Funnel Cake at Westmorland Concessions

• Strawberry Funnel Cake at Westmorland Concessions

• Maple Bacon Funnel Cake at The Best Around Concessions

• Jalapeno Cheese Corndog at Campbell's Concessions

• Fresh Tenderloin Sandwich at Chuckie's Tenderloins

• Bratwurst on a Pretzel Bun at Arnold's Concessions

• Cajun Flavored Cheese Curds at Brad and Harry's Cheese Curds

• Deep Fried Prairie Oysters at Cattleman's Beef Quarters

• Fresh Wood Oven Pizza at Parlo Pizza

• Graham Champion Fair Square at the northwest corner of the Administration Building

Visit www.iowastatefair.org/fair-attractions/food for the complete list of new Fair foods, as well as a list of healthy and gluten-free options and vendor locations.

"Nothing Compares" to the Iowa State Fair set August 8-18, 2013. Save money on advance admission tickets now through August 7 (while supplies last). For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit iowastatefair.org.

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$1 Tacos (and more!) at Rosy's PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Amanda Garcia   
Saturday, 20 July 2013 09:06
Rosy's Restaurant, 2618 W Locust St, Davenport, offers $1 tacos every day! Daily specials at breakfast, lunch and dinner including $1 tacos, the Rosy omelette, the Rosy skillet, Mexican omelette, sandwiches, burgers, salads, Mexican dishes, fish and chicken dinners. Breakfast served all day long.

 
Local mixologists compete for spot in state final competition PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Stacy Kluesner   
Thursday, 18 July 2013 15:12

The Iowa Restaurant Association is hosting 5 regional mixology competitions, the third of which will be held July 30 at Van’s Pub & Pizza in Davenport. The top two contestants will advance to the state final competition. The past two reigning champs advanced from the Davenport region.

Everyone is welcome to watch and taste. A few competitor spots are still available.  A few competitor spots are still available for this competition. If you’ve got what it takes, register today at www.restaurantiowa.com and prove that you are a master of mixology.

 
THE 2013 DMACC MID-AMERICAN WINE COMPETITION AWARDS 66 GOLD MEDALS! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Jennifer Mital   
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 14:55

The Quad Cities' own Creekside Vineyards Winery of Preemption, Illinois, received 1 Gold medal, 1 Silver medal and 1 Bronze medal in the seventh Annual Mid-American Wine Competition held at the Des Moines Area Community College campus in Ankeny, IA.

“The quality of Midwestern wines continues to improve,” said Bob Foster, Director of the Mid-American Wine Competition (MAWC). These are high quality wines that wine lovers should seek out and try.”

The competition was held July 12-14 and included wines from 14 Midwestern states.

Professional wine judges from throughout the United States awarded 66 Gold medals, 155 Silver medals, and 188 Bronze medals. Full results can be found at www.midamericanwine.org.

“This marks the seventh consecutive year of the MAWC and we have had the distinction of watching the local wine industry develop into a great representation of our region,” said Chief Judge Doug Frost of Kansas City. “The wine industry throughout the Midwest has evolved into tourist destinations, where wine enthusiasts visit local wineries. This helps the local economy and area wine industry.”

The judges were selected by Frost, who has earned both the coveted Master of Wine degree and the Master Sommelier title. The judges, who have over 200 years of cumulative experience, are experts in wine production, service and distribution.

“We’ve added a new component following the wine competition this year,” said MAWC Director Bob Foster. “A fund-raiser for the American Heart Association titled “Affair of the Heart” was held where wine enthusiasts could sample some of the award winning wines from the 2013 Mid-American Wine Competition.”

 
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