‘Buy Local Market’ and cooking contest to be held at farm show

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets is organizing the seventh annual Buy Local Market that will be held during “Consumer Night” at the Vermont Farm Show on Wednesday, Jan. 31.
The Buy Local Market, located in the Blue Ribbon Pavilion Building at the Champlain Valley Expo, will present consumers with an ideal occasion to “taste, learn and buy Vermont agricultural products” from across our state in one convenient location. There is no fee to vend at the market; applications are online at vtfarmshow.com.
“Consumer Night” festivities at the Farm Show will take place from 4-7 p.m.
In addition to the Buy Local Market, that night will also feature the “Capitol Cook-Off.” Beginning at 5:15 p.m., watch Vermont state representatives, senators and Agency of Agriculture staff battle in a contest to showcase local foods in an “Iron Chef” style cooking challenge. The evening’s surprise local ingredient will be unveiled before the cooking begins, and teams will shop the Buy Local Market for unique products to craft their perfect local dish in just one hour.
Last year’s Winter Buy Local Market featured over 50 farmers and producers of local cheese, meat, fruits and vegetables, milk, maple syrup, jams, culinary oils, honey, wine, beer, spirits, wool, and handmade crafts as well as ready-to-eat prepared foods such as bacon, hot dogs and ice cream cones. Over 500 people shopped and grazed their way through the local product booths, and three raffle prizes were awarded to lucky Buy Local Market customers.
The Buy Local Market features the best agricultural products that Vermont communities have to offer and is an excellent opportunity for producers toexpand their market and customer base.
According to the USDA agricultural census, there are more than 7,000 farms in Vermont today, totaling over $673 million in sales, annually. In terms of production dollars, dairy leads the state, followed by maple. But Vermont’s agricultural landscape is rich and diverse, and goes much deeper than these two commodities. A rise in specialty crop production and value-added processing in recent years has not only added to the state’s agricultural economy, it has created new and exciting opportunities for the next generation of Vermont farmers.
Vermont leads the nation in direct-to-consumer farm sales, with more farmers markets, CSA’s, and farm stands per capita than any other state in the nation. We also have more cheese-makers, per capita, than any other state.
Food enthusiasts will enjoy the Buy Local Market, which will showcase foods and products from Vermont farms from all four corners of the state.
The Buy Local Market gives Vermont producers the opportunity to engage with new customers through sampling and conversation. As well it provides customers a unique time to learn about new products and purchase goods from around the state.

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