Farmers Markets Show Strong Growth Across Country, Biggest Gains in Midwest

The number of farmers markets across the country has grown 16 percent this year, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data released yesterday.

The 2010 National Farmers Market Directory lists 6,132 operational farmers markets, in 2009 the agency counted 5,274. The 2010 results are being released as part of National Farmers Market Week declared by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack between Aug. 1-7, 2010.

farmers-market9-featured.jpg“Seeing such continued strong growth in the number of U.S. farmers markets indicates that regional food systems can provide great economic, social and health benefits to communities across the country,” said Vilsack. “Farmers markets provide fresh, local products to communities across the country while offering economic opportunities for many producers of all sizes.”

State Statistics

-Top 10 states with the most farmers markets: California (580), New York (461), Illinois (286), Michigan (271), Iowa (229), Massachusetts (227), Ohio (213), Wisconsin (204), Pennsylvania (203), and North Carolina (182).

-Top 10 states, by percentage, with market growth from 2009-2010: Missouri (77), Minnesota (61), Idaho (60), Michigan (60), Indiana (47), South Dakota (46), Arkansas (41), Washington (37), Ohio (36), and Oklahoma (31).

Off Season Operations

-886 farmers markets are open for operation in the off-season (between November-March).

-Off-season farmers markets operate in 47 states and the District of Columbia.
The USDA National Farmers Market Directory is available online. Farmers markets can be searched by state, county, zip code and participation in federal nutrition assistance programs.

Results from the USDA National Farmers Market Directory are based on voluntary reporting from farmers market managers.  In 2010, USDA collected electronic reporting for the first time; USDA has been tallying farmers markets since 1994.