Celebrate National Farmers Market Week

(Farm and Dairy photo)

This week is National Farmers Market Week!

WASHINGTON — According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the number of farmers markets in the U.S. is increasing. As of August 3, the USDA had 8,144 farmers markets registered in it’s National Farmers Market Directory, up from about 5,000 in 2008.

Increase in farmers markets

What’s with the increase in farmers markets? Anne Alonzo, agricultural marketing service administrator, thinks consumer demand for local food is fueling the farmers market fire.

Related: Five ways to celebrate National Farmers Market Week

According to the latest Census of Agriculture, local food and direct marketing opportunities are one of the fastest growing segments in agriculture. Direct sales of food from farmers to consumers rose nearly 50 percent between 2002 and 2007.

Top 10 states for farmers markets

The 10 top states account for over half (51.3 percent) of all markets listed in the Directory database:

  1. California (759)
  2. New York (637)
  3. Illinois (336)
  4. Michigan (331)
  5. Ohio (300)
  6. Pennsylvania (290)
  7. Massachusetts (289)
  8. Wisconsin 286)
  9. Missouri (246)
  10. Virginia (tie) (246)
  11. Iowa (229)
  12. North Carolina (tie) (229)

National celebration

Many markets will host activities to celebrate National Farmers Market Week, including pie contests, festivals, cooking demonstrations, events for kids, raffle drawings and giveaways.

USDA officials will visit markets around the country between Aug. 4 and Aug. 10, to honor growers and commemorate National Farmers Market Week.

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