Guest blogger Ben Garber here to wish you a happy first day of summer! We’ve hit that time of year when the farms and gardens of Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley turn into a kaleidoscope of crops. Every week sees new crops coming into season and old crops surrendering to the hot weather. Every visit to the farmers market holds something new, and farm stands are starting to pop up on the roadsides like wildflowers.
With so much change in seasonal produce at this time of year, it can be hard for consumers to keep track of what’s available near them. Luckily, there’s something new meeting that need: the Market Maker What’s in Season tool!
Virginia Market Maker is a free online platform that acts as a matchmaker between buyers and sellers of ag products. Users can register, create profiles for their businesses, search for other businesses, and post ads on the site. The What’s in Season tool was first developed in Illinois, but it can be used anywhere in the US.
The mobile-friendly What’s in Season tool uses farmer and farmers market info from the Market Maker database. To use the tool, users can enter a ZIP code or use their device’s current location and select a 1-50 mile radius to search within.
Users then select a product to search for from a list. Products highlighted in green are in season, while grayed-out products are not currently available.
The tool then generates a map of farmers and farmers markets that sell the product within the designated area. Users can click on each business’s map icon for more information or for directions.
Because it’s mobile-friendly and easy to use, the What’s in Season tool helps put consumers in touch with farm-fresh food wherever they are.
This summer, Virginia residents can expect that the following crops will be fresh and in season:
Apples, Beets, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cabbage, Cantaloupes, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Green Beans, Nectarines, Peaches, Squash, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, and Watermelons
Want to get started with the tool? Visit us at whatsinseasonapp.com and start your search for the bounty of the season!
One of the best things about living in the Shenandoah Valley is seeing the season’s bounty unfold around you as the year progresses. We hope Market Maker can help you put some of that bounty on your table!
If you are a farmer or a farmers market who wants to get listed on the app so consumers can find you be sure to visit https://va.foodmarketmaker.com/ to register, or use the “Enroll your Farm or Market” button on the What’s in Season homepage.
Ben Garber is the Project Development Specialist for Virginia Market Maker. He grew up on a sheep farm in Augusta County, and he loves traveling the state with Market Maker to meet farmers and other folks involved in Virginia’s food systems.