The Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market opens this Tuesday for its 22nd season in the Rogue Valley.

The Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market opens this Tuesday for its 22nd season in the Rogue Valley.

The Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market's three weekly open-air venues serve as core marketplaces for obtaining local food directly from the producers. The markets contribute to communities in many ways: as incubators for small businesses, as models of sustainability and localized economy, as well as gathering places for residents and visitors.

The Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market welcomes food stamp shoppers. The RVG&CM began providing serves for Oregon Trail recipients in July. The food stamp card services are in addition to the continued participation in senior and WIC Farm Direct Nutrition Program coupons. The inclusion of the card services also allows the market to accept debit and credit cards. Oregon Trail recipients may use food stamps to buy food as well as vegetable starts, herb plants and seeds that produce food.

The start of the market season offers greens such as kale, collards, spinach and chard; leeks, onions and garlic; bedding plants and vegetable starts; eggs, cheese, meat, honey, jam, and baked goods; as well as unique crafts. The market offers events throughout the season: Spring Planting Show on May 23, Kid's Day on July 7 and July 9 and the annual Tomato Taste-Off in conjunction with Eat Local Week on Sept. 12, Sept. 15 and Sept. 17.

The Tuesday market in Ashland opens on March 17 and the Thursday market in Medford opens March 19. The third market opens on May 16 in downtown Ashland offering a more grower-dense market in the peak season.

"After a winter of worldwide woe, the opening of farmers market season provides more than the usual annual thrill this year," said Saturday Market Manager Tracy Harding. "Farmers markets grow a healthy local food economy, they help protect farmland, they support farmers and they feed nourish community. Food safety has been a topic receiving much attention recently, knowing where your food comes from and shopping close to home make more sense than ever."