As produce season booms, Delaware Farmers Market Week begins
With fresh produce and other farm-sourced products in abundance, Delaware’s 26 community-run farmers markets are on track for another successful season, Gov. Jack Markell and Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee said as they announced the start of Delaware Farmers Market Week, Aug. 3-9.
“Delaware’s farmers markets are great opportunities to connect our farmers with consumers,” Markell said in issuing a proclamation to kick off the week, in conjunction with National Farmers Market Week. “In addition to offering great fruits, vegetables, produce and other products, they also provide an economic boost to our hardworking growers, while increasing our knowledge of agriculture in our communities."
Last year’s farmers market season saw a record $2.1 million in sales at 26 sites, and sales are running at a similar pace this year, market managers have reported. Delaware’s farmers markets are all run at the local level by municipalities, business groups, farmers or market associations, with the Delaware Department of Agriculture providing support and marketing assistance.
A complete directory of Delaware markets, including hours, locations and contacts, is available at DDA’s Buy Local Guide, at de.gov/buylocal, or through the Delaware Fresh mobile app.
“This has been a wonderful growing season, and Delaware shoppers are reaping the benefits,” said Kee. “The demand for farm-fresh produce and other products is increasing dramatically. Our community partners, growers and other vendors are telling us how eager people are to buy their sweet corn, watermelon, tomatoes, peaches and other fine products that they produce.”
Delaware’s farmers’ markets operate in all three counties. Sales for 2013 passed $2.1 million, up $200,000 over 2012. Four years ago, the 2010 season had 14 market sites and $1.3 million in sales. Produce made up 62 percent of the total sales in 2013, with the remainder coming from value-added products such as meats, cheeses, jellies, breads, salsa, eggs or honey.