We got a little sample of what West Virginia farmers and producers have to offer at the annual “Winter Blues Farmer’s Market” in Charleston, WV. This was the last day of the 2019 West Virginia Small Farm Conference and the 11th year for the market.
For Randy and me, the market offered up some great food tastings – honey, popcorn, chocolate and more. All of the vendors had a true passion for their craft and shared their stories of growing, making, and producing the products displayed.
We also got a small “taste” of programs around the state that provide training and income for veterans and people displaced by the coal mining industry. One great surprise was the number of men and women under the age of 40 that are making a difference in keeping traditional farming alive. There is more interest than ever in preserving and saving heirloom plant and seed varieties. New innovations, internships, business development, educational programs and mentoring are working to keep mountain state farming a growing industry.
The farm-to-table movement has been a huge influence on bringing fresh, locally sourced products to West Virginians. 2019 marks the second year for West Virginia State Parks growing farm-to-table program and we will be traveling to a few. We will also be visiting some farms and producers in the upcoming months, sampling more products and enjoying some good West Virginia food. We will be sharing their stories with you.