The Virginia is for Farmers Market Lovers Trail is a campaign to bring farmers market loving tourists and local foodies to Virginia farmers markets, agritourism operations, and local food restaurants. The program includes a farmers market trail as well as suggested agritourism and local food restaurant excursions in conjunction with a marketing campaign targeting out-of-region tourists who shop farmers markets at home. It also encourages resident market shoppers to see their local markets as destinations to bring their visiting foodie friends and relatives for a taste of place.
For Local Foodies, Farmers Markets are Destinations
As trusted sources of authenticity, transparency, and sustainability and with a tradition of educating consumers about food and agriculture, Virginia’s farmers markets are well positioned to serve as guides to their areas’ local food and agritourism experiences. They can provide recommendations for the restaurants that truly source their ingredients locally. They can steer visitors to the upick operations that are open that season. And they can recommend high quality family-friendly agritourism operations.
Local foodies love their home farmers markets – places where they get to interact with their farmers and food artisans, discover new foods and be surrounded by people who prioritize food quality, eating with the season and supporting their community. As travelers, local food lovers enjoy visiting farmers markets as part of their exploration of another location. Farmers markets offer tourists a taste of place — an opportunity to learn about food unique to the place they’re visiting. In a World Food Travel Association survey, tourism experts named visiting a local market to be the most effective experience for learning about local food culture, with 76% rating it as “extremely” or “very” effective.
The Virginia is for Farmers Market Lovers Trail is a campaign to entice farmers market lovers to see Virginia’s farmers markets as destinations – part of a fun and active food experience where they can visit a farmers market, a farm and a local food restaurant in an area. Virginia’s culinary scene has already been on the radar of foodies as a food destination. Adding an agritourism lens and promoting the food quality and innovation found at Virginia’s farmers markets will help entice local foodies to plan a trip to Virginia.