It’s Winter. Let’s Go to the Farmers’ Market!

On a recent Saturday morning at Eastern Market in Detroit, busking musicians filled the air with jazz as vendors finished setting up for the day’s traffic. Shoppers streamed in, sizing up winter produce, relishes and chutneys, fresh cuts of beef and more.

Though farmers’ markets are usually associated with warm months and lush fruits and vegetables, Eastern Market and others like it across the country are becoming cold-weather travel destinations as they add artisanal goods, entertainment and indoor experiences like the cooking classes the Detroit market has sometimes offered during the cold months.

Some, like the Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles, the Detroit market and the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, have been in business for so long that shopping, restaurant and entertainment neighborhoods have cropped up around them, creating urban ecosystems worthy of winter weekend getaways.

“There is now a whole destination associated with the markets themselves, and often their events are unique to the communities they serve,” said Ben Feldman, the executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition, a nonprofit organization for markets across the United States. Take, for example, the Commissioner’s Cup BBQ Cook-Off and Festival at the South Carolina State Farmers Market, which happens each March in ‌Columbia or Milwaukee Public Market’s chili-and-beer-tasting event that kicks off annually in February.

‌‌Mr. Feldman added that while the focus of farmers’ markets is on what’s in season, purveyors are extending the peak of the season by creating baked goods, jams and other products from crops they’ve grown, while others are relying on greenhouses or semicircular “hoop” houses to bring more produce to market in winter. The revenue, Mr. Feldman said, is beneficial to the immediate community.

For cities in warmer climates, staying open in the winter is easy. California, for instance, has scores of year-round markets. Those in colder cities ‌often have pavilions to buffer against the cold. The Nashville market, for example, has a Market House, where shoppers will find prepped-food options and cafes, including a wine-tasting room.

Here are five markets that are worth a day or two of exploring — even in chilly weather.

“It used to be that hardly any vendors produced in the winter, but now so many people have greenhouses that we have over 40 vendors,” Ms. Burns said.

The market caps all products that aren’t produce and meat (as in baked goods or crafts) at no more than 20 percent to keep space for what the market is meant for: fresh food.

“We are considered one of the best in the nation because we’re a true farmers’ market,” she said. “If people could taste the difference between the vegetables here and what they get at grocery stores or even at health food stores, they would understand, because all of that has to go through a distribution center.”

There is, of course, a wider variety of fruits and vegetables here than at markets in less accommodating climes, but beyond its winter produce, which includes avocados, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, kumquats, clementines and persimmons, this market is also a maze of global (Brazilian, Cajun, Chinese, French, Italian, Middle Eastern and more) street-food vendors, restaurants, seafood and meat dealers, and specialty and curio shops.

Winter also brings the market’s annual celebration of the Lunar New Year with live performances and activities for kids. Another annual event is the market’s own Mardi Gras celebration in mid-February, with live blues and zydeco as well as Louisiana-style food.

The big blue sign with red neon letters at 12th and Arch Streets is a familiar sight to Philly natives, many of whom grew up going to the busy Reading Terminal Market, a 78,000-square-foot enclosed market that hosts nearly 80 independent vendors in the former Reading Terminal train shed in the heart of Center City. It is one of the oldest markets in the country, and it’s the most visited Philadelphia tourist destination after the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, according to the market.

Pennsylvania is known for its produce in spring, fall and summer, and for its dairy and meat products throughout the year; the number of dairy farms in Pennsylvania is second only to Wisconsin, according to the Center for Dairy Excellence, a nonprofit organization. Vendors buy from nearby Lancaster County farms, so the fresh milk, butter and cream offered at Lancaster County Dairy had to make only a short hop from farm to display case.

The Philly market has a number of old-school butchers, and 12 Pennsylvania Dutch vendors who specialize in Pennsylvania Dutch specialties such as baked goods, cheeses, chicken potpies and confections. The seating area in the market’s center is where guests can sample shoofly pie and scrapple, along with old-school favorites like Philly cheese steaks and hoagies. The prepared food is considered so good at the Reading Terminal Market that almost all Philadelphia food tours include a swing through it.

The market officially started doing business in 1893 at the current site, now a National Historic Landmark. The street-level market opened when the rumbling from trains then operating overhead could be felt. The Philadelphia farmers’ market is one of the oldest in the country, but not the oldest. That market is 80 miles west in Lancaster. The Lancaster Central Market dates to 1730.

Thomas Bedway, whose family has been a presence at the Gratiot market since the 1960s, said that by using local butchers, consumers have a better understanding of what they are getting, when the meat was cut and how to prepare it.

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