Farmers' Markets

Overview

A farmers' market allows growers to sell directly to consumers at a given location and time. This marketing method has grown in popularity.

Since USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service began tracking farmers’ markets in 1994, the number of markets in the United States has grown from 1,755 to 8,144 in 2013, an increase of about 4 percent from the previous year. The states with the most farmers' markets include California (759), New York (637), Illinois (336), Michigan (331) and Ohio (300). Total annual sales at U.S. farmers' markets are estimated at $1 billion.

Most farmers' markets are operated on a seasonal basis, opening in the spring and closing in the fall. There are year-round markets and they are generally found on the West Coast, southeast and southwest United States.

To participate, a grower, or vendor, pays a fee or percent of sales for booth space. The market has a manager that coordinates vendors and promotes the market. The market is held in a public location, such as a town square or downtown street on a weekly basis. Some markets are open in the mornings and others are open in late afternoon.

A farmers' market allows growers the opportunity to market directly to consumers without dealing with a food broker. Growers can explain how the food is grown and educate consumers on how to prepare it.

Consumers have an opportunity to put a “face” on who is growing the product, which they do not necessarily get from traditional retail food outlets. This form of direct marketing is also regarded as agritourism. Consumers also have the chance to purchase products that originate locally and are promoted as being “fresh.”

Source

Farmers Markets and Local Food Marketing, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), USDA.
 

Other Links


Links checked May 2012.