Celebrate National Farmers Market Week!
‘Tis the season for ripe red strawberries, juicy peaches and crisp peppers and cucumbers. There’s nothing quite like fruits and veggies fresh from the farm and National Farmers Market Week (August 4 -10) is the perfect time to visit your local market and enjoy summer’s seasonal produce along with the many other offerings found there.
According to the USDA, the number of farmers markets is steadily increasing. As of this week, the USDA had 8,144 farmers markets registered in its National Farmers Market Directory, up from about 5,000 in 2008.
Ohio ranks 5th in the nation for the number of registered farmers markets with 300. California takes the top spot, with 759. Incredibly, the top ten states account for just over half of all markets listed in USDA’s database- 51.3%!
Here’s a breakdown of the top ten:
- California (759)
- New York (637)
- Illinois (336)
- Michigan (331)
- Ohio (300) Great job, Buckeyes!
- Pennsylvania (290)
- Massachusetts (289)
- Wisconsin 286)
- Missouri (246)
- Virginia (tie) (246)
- Iowa (229)
- North Carolina (tie) (229)
Why have we seen such a large jump in just five years?
The desire to know where food comes from, how it was grown and if it was processed is growing. Many folks are interested in supporting food that is grown locally and farmers markets are an ideal place to get fresh, local produce and other products straight from the farmer, baker, honey maker, etc.
Not only have the number of markets grown, but the diversity in what vendors offer at many markets has flourished too. Many markets offer prepared foods, meat, cheeses and specialty baked goods and candy in addition to the more traditional produce vendors.
If you’re looking to join the celebration, consider visiting your local farmers market this weekend. Ohio Department of Agriculture keeps a directory of many of the state’s farmers markets here.