Farmers’ markets report record-breaking sales

DOVER — Delaware farmers’ markets broke through another record last year, surpassing $3 million in sales, demonstrating the continued interest in local foods and farm-fresh products, the Delaware Department of Agriculture said Tuesday.

“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.

BY THE NUMBERS Delaware Farmers’ Market sales for the last nine years: 2007: $289,706 2008: $800,679 2009: $1,121,024 2010: $1,330,617 2011: $1,794,265 2012: $1,960,357 2013: $2,107,265 2014: $2,636,727 2015: $3,029,831

BY THE NUMBERS
Delaware Farmers’ Market sales for the last nine years:
2007: $289,706
2008: $800,679
2009: $1,121,024
2010: $1,330,617
2011: $1,794,265
2012: $1,960,357
2013: $2,107,265
2014: $2,636,727
2015: $3,029,831

“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, officials said, 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.

Farmers and others interested in becoming a vendor, or community groups interested in starting a local market, can contact Department of Agriculture marketing specialist David Smith at (302) 698-4625 or davidm.smith@state.de.us.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.