As Idaho Preferred tries to help farmers markets across the state try to rebound from the pandemic, the organization says there is strong community support for those markets.  A final tally on Farmer's Market sales for the season won't be released until mid-November.  Dawn Larzelier with the Idaho Preferred program, which is part of the state Department of Agriculture, said while there were challenges brought on by COVID-19, the pandemic also ushered in positive changes; a boost of public interest in farmer's markets for example.


"We found things selling out at grocery stores, people forced to stay home," said Larzelier. "They were more in tune to seek out their local farmers and buy direct, or at the farmer's market.  That was, kind of, a silver lining through that whole time period."


Larzelier thinks the bond developed between farmers markets and the consumer during the pandemic will only grow and strengthen over time.  She also noted they initiated some safety measures during COVID-19 that won't be going away anytime soon.


"We're seeing a lot more hand washing stations, which I think is a good thing," Larzelier said.  "More precautions, in terms of still helping to support our local economies while taking precautions to keep everybody safe."


Idaho Preferred has an affiliation with 50 farmer's markets in the state, a number which has been steadily growing.  The organization also puts together Idaho Farmer's Market Week, which takes place annually in early August.  Governor Brad Little gives an official proclamation for the event, which highlights all of the farmer's markets across the state and lends support to local vendors and farmers.


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