Man. grants farmers’ markets extended hours

The Manitoba government will allow the province’s farmers’ markets to open two days per week during the market season, up from 14 days over the entire season.

“The popularity of farmers’ markets across the province continues to grow and the new guidelines introduced today will give Manitobans even more opportunities to purchase made-in-Manitoba products and support our local economies,” Agriculture Minister Rosann Wowchuk said in a release Wednesday.

With the new regulations allowing for a total of about 24 opening days per market over the course of the season, farmers’ markets “will now be open almost double the time they were able to operate before,” she said.

The new provincial guidelines for farmers’ markets also lay out responsibilities and rules for their operation, as well as proper food-handling and safety practices for people preparing items to sell.

“Farmers’ markets offer a wide range of food products, so it’s important they are prepared safely to reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses,” provincial Health Minister Theresa Oswald said in the same release.

“Public health inspectors will continue to work closely with market operators and vendors to make sure the food Manitobans purchase is safe for the consumer.”

The province said its regulatory changes reflect recommendations from farmers’ markets and other stakeholders.

“The guidelines will help our markets access more information about food-safety procedures and also respond to a growing demand for Manitoba-made products by being open for more days,” Dianna Mae Hocaluk, executive director of the Farmers’ Market Association of Manitoba, said in the province’s release.

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