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Delaware farmers’ markets report big sales year in 2021 despite pandemic

Delaware Dept. of Agriculture

The Delaware Department of Agriculture announced Delaware’s 18 community run farmers’ markets rang up nearly $3.16 million in sales in 2021.

The Ag Department’s Chief of Community Relations Stacey Hofmann attributes the surge in sales to consumers seeking new sources of food during the pandemic.

“The number one reason we saw an increase was the connections that people made with farmers over the 2021 early pandemic when grocery stores, their shelves were empty, and people were panicking on where they were gonna get food,” said Hofmann. “They turned to the farmers and they were able to get locally grown produce to feed their families and have nutritious food all through the season.”

And with COVID cases reaching new highs as a result of the omicron variant, and supply chain issues and staffing shortages prevalent, Hofmann says local farms remain an option.

“When you’re buying right here in Delaware, our farmers are on the farm, they’re picking that fresh fresh that day and going to the farmers markets themselves or with some of their staff,” Hofmann said. “Our farms are small family farms, so you’re not looking at a huge workforce, so they’re able to make it every day that there’s a market that they’re participating in.”

The 2022 market season kicks-off in April with most markets restarting operations in May and June. The season will likely extend later into November this year in response to growing demand.

While many outdoor markets are closed right now, Delawareans can still buy local seasonal produce and other local goods by finding a farm near them here.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021.