Farmers markets occupy a unique niche in Idaho’s economy: by connecting local farmers with local consumers, they reward the state’s agricultural vendors and enhance the nutritional health of the community.

Established in 1977, the Moscow Farmers Market is the longest-running farmers market in Idaho. It has been ranked the number one market in the state of Idaho by American Farmland Trust for five years in a row. Throughout its long history, the Moscow Farmers Market has been a pioneer in bringing fresh, local food to as many members of the community as possible.

To enable lower-income community residents to access affordable, healthy food, the Moscow Farmers Market became the first market in the state to accept food stamps, WIC, and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) checks. Although SFMNP checks are part of a Washington state program, Moscow is right on the state border, and its farmers market accepts these checks to support an expanded community.

While many markets depend on volunteers to operate, the Moscow Farmers Market is so large that it has several staff members dedicated to marketing and operations logistics. The city also created a strategic plan for 2012 and 2013 to ensure that the Market can operate and expand in a way that best serves the community. Moscow Farmers Market is just one of 45 such markets in the state, but its size and history set it apart as a trend setter and expert in the farmers market world.

Idaho Housing Market. Home prices continue to rise slightly across the nation and in Idaho. Idaho’s home prices increased 0.9 percent from in late summer, and have risen 7.4 percent since August 2015. Nationally, home prices increased 1.1 percent month over month and 6.2 percent year over year. National home prices for single-family homes, including distressed sales, are forecasted to rise by 0.4 percent in September 2016, and by 5.3 percent from August 2016 to August 2017.

Although home prices remain 5.6 percent below peak values recorded in April 2006, the U.S. has experienced 55 consecutive months of year-over-year increases, including distressed sales, indicating progress toward a full recovery. A new peak level in home prices is expected to be reached in October 2017. In Idaho, home prices are forecasted to increase 0.4 percent this month and 5.7 percent in the next year. Prices are bolstered by Idaho’s strong regional economy, and relatively-low mortgage rates. Inventories are low, and homes are selling quickly—in the third quarter this year, the average sold home was on the market for 44 days, compared to 59 days for all of 2016. Prices may dip slightly in the future as interest rates rise, but the strong fundamentals of Idaho’s housing market suggest that rising prices are sustainable in the long term.