Confessions of a farmers market fanatic

I go to a farmers market three, sometimes four times a week. I can because I am semi- retired. I love the vibe and hard-working people that I get to speak with. You also get to know where your food comes from and how it was grown. You also see artisan crafts, home made projects, and the pride of putting a part of yourself out on display.

As you wander the market, you see subject experts on the items for viewing and sale; shoppers giving advise, opinions, and testimonials; vendors answering questions, making sales, and marketing their brand.

The vendors come in four categories. All are important to the survival and vibrance of a market. You have the full-time local farmers, the dabbler farmers with a dream, the food businesses, usually ethnic or specialty, the artisan makers, and the idea dreamers. For a market to be worth while, you can’t have only any one category. For example, eight food trucks without anything else means a short stay.

These farmers markets average almost 916 households shopping per market day throughout the markets the US. There are over 4,000 full and part time employees who work these markets (not including those who work for the vendors), and annual sales are over $1,000,000,000 for a mostly seasonal business. The most important thing is that 80 percent of produce and proteins are grown within 40 miles of the market. They are small business who buy trucks, equipment, homes, and other local items. So shop local at the farmers market and support your community.

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