By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – John Lebeaux, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, stopped by the Shrewsbury Farmers Market July 29 to announce that Gov. Charlie Baker has declared the first week in August as Massachusetts Farmers Market Week.
Lebeaux, who is also a member of the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen, noted that he was happy to be doing so in his hometown where the local farmers market is set up in the Senior Center parking lot 98 Maple Ave., every Wednesday from 2:30-6:30 p.m.
“I’d like to read this for all the farmers markets throughout the state and for all the residents of the state who we encourage to shop at our farmers markets,” he said in reading the official proclamation.
The document highlighted the commonwealth’s vibrant agriculture industry with 7,241 farms. Farmers markets carry out a rich heritage and create economic vitality for Massachusetts farmers and food producers. They also serve as public and community gathering places as they promote supporting local business.
On another note, when asked about the recent mysterious packages with seeds from China that are arriving in people’s mail boxes across the country, Lebeaux shared, “We are working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on this matter and honestly the early thinking is that this something called a ‘brushing scam’…this has to do with boosting online sales presence.”
Anyone who receives these packages are urged to report them and determine how best to dispose of the seeds by visiting https://www.mass.gov/forms/receipt-of-unsolicited-seeds.
Officials advised in a press release, “For now, we ask that you hold onto the seeds and packaging, including the mailing label. USDA is currently collecting seed packages from recipients and will test their contents to determine if they contain anything that could be of concern to U.S. agriculture or the environment. Do not plant seeds from unknown origins.”