Delaware Farmers' markets set new sales record
First State consumers are flocking to farmers markets.
According to the state Department of Agriculture, Delaware farmers markets had a record sales season of more than $3 million in 2015. That’s a 15 percent jump over 2014.
Fresh produce made up 55 percent of total sales, with the remainder coming from products such as meats, cheeses, eggs and jellies.
Department of Agriculture spokesperson Dan Shortridge says the 2015 sales speak to how much First State residents want to connect with local food producers.
“They’re really being driven by Delaware residents who have become more and more interested in where they get their food comes from," said Shortridge. "And increasingly that means going local. So that means buying directly from a farmer and knowing that the food in your grocery comes from a local family farm.”
Since 2010, the number of farmers’ markets in Delaware has nearly doubled. There are 25 community-run farmers’ markets in the state.
“We constantly get interest every year, both from new market opportunities and from new vendors--farmers or other food producers who want to sell at these markets," said Shortridge. "I think the interest is only going to go up.”
Shortridge added that a market’s location and variety in its selection are the biggest factors that contribute to success. The most popular farmers’ markets are located along the Delaware beaches and the foot traffic tends to be highest in the summertime.
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 farmers markets is online at Delaware's Buy Local Guide, de.gov/buylocal.