DERRY — Gov. Chris Sununu and Department of Agriculture Commissioner Shawn Jasper visited the Derry Homegrown Farm & Artisan Market Wednesday to celebrate New Hampshire Farmers’ Market Week and NH Eat Local Month.
Speaking to shoppers through the sound system that’s set up every week for live music, Sununu said farmers’ markets represent everything New Hampshire is about.
“It’s a connection to your local community, it celebrates our strong economy, it brings the whole farm-to-table concept right to our own tables and it allows folks to really come together in those communities,” Sununu said.
Jasper said during the visit that this year is the 20th anniversary of Farmers’ Market Week, and that there are 50 farmers’ markets statewide, 20 of which operate year-round.
The state ranks 16th in locavore rankings published annually by the Strolling of the Heifers organization in Vermont.
Sununu said there’s no reason why New Hampshire can’t double the number of farmers’ markets to 100 or rise in the locavore rankings to a top-five position.
He called on folks to shop more at farmers’ markets and to buy more locally. Even if it costs a little more up front, he said, it helps us all in the long run.
“It gives us all a little more opportunity, economically,” Sununu said.
Neil Wetherbee, the chairman of the Derry Town Council and the vice president of the Derry Farmers’ Market, said he’s proud to say that everyone at the booths are the same people growing and producing the products.
“I’m just really honored to have the governor here today to highlight what goes on at farmers’ markets,” Wetherbee said.
After delivering his brief remarks, Sununu toured the market and spoke to different vendors. He purchased some maple-coated pecans from Anderson’s Mini-Maples of Deerfield, some tomatoes from Fresh Start Farms of Manchester, and some spicy ketchup from Little Acre Gourmet Foods of Dover.
Gail McWilliam-Jellie, director of agricultural development in the Department of Agriculture, said until this year, New Hampshire was ranked No. 3 in the locavore rankings, but the Strolling of the Heifers organization changed the way it calculated local consumption. As a result, all New England states dropped in the rankings this year.