Fall is a great time to visit a pumpkin patch, pick your favorite apples at a local orchard or gather your final few vegetables before the neighborhood farmers market closes for the winter.
8,675 farmers markets were recognized this year by the US Department of Agriculture, nearly triple the amount recognized in the last 15 years. American Farmland Trust, an organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices, and keeping farmers on the land, recently identified America’s top farmers markets during their eighth annual Farmers Market Celebration. The Celebration is an annual effort to rally support for local farms and family farmers by calling on shoppers to identify the best of America’s farmers markets.
“Next generation farmers selling directly to consumers at farmers markets have nearly a 10 percent greater chance of staying in business than those selling goods through traditional retail,” says Susan Sink, American Farmland Trust’s Vice President of Development and External Relations and a family farmer herself.
The Top 5 markets nationwide were:
- Winter Garden Farmers Market – Winter Garden, FL
- Orlando Farmers Market at Lake Eola – Orlando, FL
- Charlottesville City Market – Charlottesville, VA
- Williamsburg Farmers Market – Williamsburg, VA
- Fort Pierce Farmers Market – Fort Pierce, FL
For a full listing, or to see where your hometown farmers market ranked, visit markets.farmland.org.
Farmers selling at farmers markets make a greater profit by cutting out the middle man. The community and local economy benefit, and so do shoppers pockets. Farmers market shoppers typically leave with fuller wallets and fresher products when compared to shopping at a grocery store for the same items.
“While farmers markets have been growing in popularity, keeping family farmers on farmland remains a nationwide challenge,” explains Sink. “Many family farmers struggle to stay financially afloat and face daily pressure from development to sell their land. Farmers markets provide a wonderful opportunity for family farmers to sell directly to consumers and keep their farmland in farming.”