This week is the official week dedicated for Farmers Markets.
The USDA is reporting that there is an increase in the number of markets again this year (and has been for the last 18 years).
“After 18 years of steady increases, the number of farmers markets across the country now registered with the USDA is 7,864. In 1994, there were 1,744.” (Source)
Note that this statistics only include markets where several farmers are able to come and sell produce. They do not include roadside stands (somehow those always get left out of the equation).
There is an indication that the increase is a result of consumer’s demand for fresh, local food. While that is a positive for farmers everywhere, we also have to remember that eating strawberries in the dead of winter means we can’t always eat local (and why would you want to?).
In light of this week, American Farmland Trust has announced the top 20 farmers markets in their contest. Voting continues until the end of September. You can see the icon on the right to cast your vote.