Farmers’ Markets Sprout Across U.S.

The number of direct-sales farmers’ markets climbed 9.6 percent from 2011 to 2012, new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows.

The gains in the last eight years are even more remarkable. In 1994, there were 1,744 farmers markets registered with the USDA; today, there are 7,864, the Associated Press reported Aug. 3.

That means fresh fruit and vegetables are getting increasingly easier to find. The USDA even has a searchable database of farmers markets you can use to find fresh meat, produce, and other foods close to home. And lest you think that farmers markets are solely for the affluent, remember that one in four farmers markets accept food stamps for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Farmers markets are “a critical ingredient to our nation’s food system … [and to] communities looking for fresh, healthy foods,” USDA deputy secretary Kathleen Merrigan says.

(Photo © Natalie Maynor via Flickr)