We now know the nation's top farmers markets after two and a half months of voting. American Farmland Trust picked their favorite farmers markets from across the country this past Tuesday morning. Winners were based on market size and came from all over the country, representing states such as Texas, Washington, Arkansas, and Florida. American Farmland Trust tallied over 47,725 votes and compiled a list of the top 20 overall markets for each size, as well as the top 5 for each state.
While a nationally-based race is certainly exciting for farmers market gurus, competitions are no new thing in the space. Markets across the country have been conducting their own competitions celebrating seasonal ingredients for as long as their existence. Seacoast Growers Association in Durham, North Carolina conducted their first annual salsa competition last week with ten salsas competing in a blind taste test to determine the winner.Another competition on the horizon will take place in Abingdon, VA at the Abingdon Farmers Market on October 6th. The Country Roads Cook-Off will feature ten teams in a one hour cooking competition using locally sourced ingredients with a panel of professional chefs and the people selecting the two winners.
A personal favorite market of The Daily Meal’s is a group of markets in Northern Indiana called Sweet Corn Charlie’s, that recently held their Anything Goes With Peppers contest. Fancheon Resler of Albion, IN won with her Fire on the Mountain recipe, which consisted of a pepper jam and a cream cheese mound.
While it's easy to get lost in the competitive nature, it is important to remember that these events take place to bring awareness to our local farmers and the need to source organic and fresh produce and preserve our nation’s farmland.
Brian C. Baker is a Junior Writer at The Daily Meal. Follow him at Twitter @akafitsy