Farmers’ markets sales set $3 million record

Dover, Del. — Delaware farmers’ markets broke through another record last year, surpassing $3 million in sales, according to officials from the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

“This record-breaking season shows how Delaware’s family farms are thriving, growing, and leading the nation,” said Gov. Jack Markell. “Our farmers’ markets help support local growers, lead to jobs, and build our economy, while bringing communities together. This is a testament to the hard work of our farmers and local leaders, and to Delawareans’ increasing desire for local, healthy, nutritious foods.”

Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee said farmers’ markets help create new conversations about where our food comes from.

“When a farmer can talk directly with the person who’ll be grilling her sweet corn for dinner or slicing his watermelon, that makes an important connection,” he said. “Most people today have no connection with farming, and the one-on-one conversations that can happen at a market are vital to helping others understand farming. Our farmers work hard to provide fruits and vegetables for Delaware and beyond, and this season is a powerful recognition of their dedication.”

Sales from all 25 First State community-run farmers’ markets this year totaled $3,029,831, up more than $390,000 from 2014 – an increase of 15 percent. Sales have increased ninefold since the Department of Agriculture began tracking them in 2007.

Fresh produce made up 55 percent of total sales, with the remainder coming from products such as meats, cheeses, jellies, breads, salsa, eggs or honey.

Delaware’s farmers’ markets are all run at the local level, by municipalities, business groups, farmers or market associations, with the Department of Agriculture providing support and marketing assistance.

The 2016 market season will begin in April; most markets start their operations in May, June and July. There is currently one winter market open for the season, in Millsboro. A list of the 2015 markets is online at Delaware’s Buy Local Guide, de.gov/buylocal.

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