Farmers markets across the nation will celebrate National Farmers’ Market Week from August 7-13, 2022.
With more than 8,600 farmers markets registered across the nation, the weeklong events will support the farm-to-table movement and highlight the role farmers’ markets play in supporting healthy communities and stimulating local economies.
National Farmers’ Market Week
The operating term of farmers’ markets is all about unprocessed organic produce. Where entrepreneurs with a green thumb and a business plan can introduce and sell their farm produce. This includes specialty fruits and vegetables, freshly squeezed lemonade, craft beer, wine, homemade hot chocolate, or apple cider.
They can also sell some unique produce items that people won’t typically find in the supermarket. Items such as natural bath and beauty products, fresh honey, homemade pies and cakes, flowers and plants and everything in between.
Not Only Do Customers See Green, Producers Do Too
According to recent data released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) over 147,000 U.S. farms produced and sold food locally earning $9 billion in revenue in 2020. Of these more than 40,000 farms sold food directly to institutions and intermediates, which raked in $4.1 billion. While direct-to-consumer sales through on-farm stores and farmers’ markets brought in around $2.9 billion.
Texas led the nation in the number of farms selling directly to consumers, with almost 8,000 operations engaged in direct-to-consumer sales. Among the top five states who earned high-value sales through direct to customers, California leads the nation with $1.4 billion in revenues followed by Pennsylvania ($600 million), New York ($584 million), Michigan ($555 million), and Maine ($342 million).
Why are Farmers’ Markets Important?
Farmer’s markets facilitate personal connections between farmers, shoppers, and community members while providing essential services and many benefits. They include:
Find Fresh Seasonal Fruits and Veggies
Farmers’ markets offer organic fruits and vegetables that are in season. Consumers shopping directly from farmers also save money without necessarily compromising quality. Produce at farmers’ markets generally enjoy cheap products due to the added advantage of fresh products, often coupled with superior taste.
This is because products sold in supermarkets are often harvested at an immature stage which will detrimentally affect the taste of the fruit. Farmers’ markets also offer different varieties including exotic and traditional products, organically grown produce, and ethnic foods, which are not ordinarily found in supermarkets.
Cut Your Carbon Footprint
Organic food is not just healthier for you it’s also healthier for the planet. Farmers’ markets eliminate the long supply chain, besides getting food locally straight from the farm to your table you also cut your carbon footprint as your fruit and vegetables are sourced locally.
Some 78% of farms sell their products exclusively within 100 miles of the farm, while an additional 19% are sold partially within and beyond 100 miles. These come with the added benefits of providing less packaging, processing, and refrigeration. You can also further reduce your carbon footprint by opting to use reusable bags and walk to your farmers’ market for a breath of fresh air and an enjoyable shopping experience.
Give Back to the Community
In dollar terms, shopping locally has a multiplier effect and boosts the local economy. Research shows that for every dollar spent locally, 40 cents of that dollar is reinvested in the local economy.
While consumers enjoy a good bargain, producers often make higher profits through the elimination of multiple market middlemen. Furthermore, they act as incubators for farm, food, and cottage businesses providing a great opportunity for farmers to gain and improve their business confidence, as well as improve their marketing and business efforts.
Now that you are in the know about farmers’ markets make it a priority this year. If only for one week visit your local farmers’ market and get to know your local producers and their products while supporting community health and stimulating local economies.
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