Read more, eat more vegetables, plant a garden: the first week of a new year is all about looking forward. It’s also a good time to look back at the previous year – assessing the past is an important part of setting good goals going forward.
We’ll crunch the numbers and in a few weeks have a tally of what happened, presented in quantifiable statistics, at our 6 Markets in 2011. Since the internet makes everything instant, it’s easier to talk about what happened with our online community over the last 12 months.
Our markets occupy a physical space, at the same time they are more than a place, Farmers Markets are an ethos – part DIY, part locavore, part greater Portlandia, part of the fabric of Food City, USA (New Orleans is the only other place I have ever been where people talk about food this much). And in the millennial aught-aughts, websites and social media are now places where like minded people can connect. PFM has one of the largest social media followings for Farmers Markets in the US – 19,275 people stay connected to what’s fresh and in season at our 6 Markets by following us on Facebook and Twitter. Thousands of you have shared thoughts and comments last year. Much like our Markets, our online community is dependent on many voices helping us celebrate and evangelize local foods. Thank you for the input.
We had around 250,000 visits to the PFM website last year and over 35,000 people visited our blog in 2011. Most of you surfing the website were interested in hours and location, while people who visited our blog were really curious about How to Pickle Beets, learning more about our Winter Market, finding out about rookie vendor Choi’s Kimchi and other new vendors at our Markets. I don’t think it’s possible to overstate the Market relies on many people to make it successful and our blog experienced near triple digit growth because we so many people shared their stories about food and life with us.
Dozens of contributors posted on our blog last year. Because writing is a difficult endeavor, I always want to give some extra love to the people who generously offered free content last year. My favorite posts were not the most popular: And either because my memory is showing seriously failing or because some of the better contributions of 2011 happened in December, these recent offerings from Leslie Gilman, a thoughtful essay our own Amber Holland, Elizabeth Miller once again making it look so freaking delicious with recipe, and this post about tamales from the hardest working man in Arts & Letters, Aaron Gilbreath, is way better than his recent contribution to The Paris Review – these are great pieces from really good writers and Market fans.
We are goal oriented people at the Market – driven to create a a world class marketplace where local and regional farmers, growers, ranchers and food artisans can thrive. Another part of what we want accomplish is to spur the ongoing conversation about food and agriculture. To that end we have created spaces where Market and food enthusiasts can share their thoughts, comments and ideas about local foods through social media and our blog. In 2012, we want to hear from more of you. If you have pictures, video or words to share with Market fans, email me here. Tomorrow we offer a piece from brand new contributor, Alexis Smith, whose book Glaciers from Portland’s Tin House is about to take the world by storm. But before you can get her novel or see her at Powell’s on the 9th, you can read about her adventures with local foods. We look forward to offering you new voices, new ideas and great quality in 2012.