By Bobbie Whitehead
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s marketing service released in September the latest number of farmers markets it has tracked, showing growth by 6.8 percent since mid-August 2006.
The news comes at a time when traditional crop growers worry about what they’ll plant for next year.
In 2006, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service listed 4,385 markets. That figure has increased to 4,685 as of August 2008, according to a USDA press release.
“More and more consumers are discovering the wide array of fresh, locally grown produce available at farmers markets,” said AMS Administrator Lloyd Day in a press release.
“Another reason for their popularity is food buyers like the opportunity to interact with the producers.”
Since 1994 when the USDA began tracking farmers markets, the trend has been growth, and the number of markets tracked has grown by about 3,000, Day said.