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Weather is a prime factor in farmer's market season

Do farmers markets run only a few months of the year because of the weather? Has anyone considered a yearlong indoor market?

— Joey L., MedfordYes, Joey, weather is a major factor in determining how long the farmers markets run. A variety of reasons contribute to this decision.

According to Mary Ellen De Luca, Ashland market manager for the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market, "We begin the Saturday markets in May because May begins the onset of the 'peak season,' which lasts through October. The late season continues with the Tuesday/Thursday markets going until the Tuesday before Thanksgiving."

De Luca says an indoor market has been considered recently, but organizers must also take into account vendor participation and the related costs to keep it open.

"Many farmers don't have the greenhouses to keep winter farming a viable option," says De Luca. "Those that do are providing the community with the option to purchase CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture), which are winter produce boxes."

For the past couple of years, the Grants Pass Growers Market has continued a winter market at the Josephine County Fairgrounds. Many vendors attend that market. The produce offerings can be slim sometimes, but many of the other food and craft vendors find it a good venue to continue their sales throughout the year.

The markets continue to grow in popularity each year.

"I have seen a tremendous growth in the farmers market movement," says De Luca. "It is very satisfying to see how more and more people are understanding the benefits that wholesome foods bring to everyone."Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.