Between 1994 and 2009, the number of farmers markets in the United States tripled, growing from 1,755 to 5,274, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Tips to Help You Find Local Farmers Markets
Farmers markets are usually held outdoors, in public spaces, and may be found in locations ranging from small-town squares to the hearts of major cities.
Here are five easy ways to find the farmers markets in your vicinity:
- Agricultural Marketing Service – The AMS, which is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, maintains a current listing of farmers markets throughout the United States, updates its database regularly, and offers an online search engine where you can search for farmers markets by city, county, state, zip code or the name of a specific market. You can also search for farmers markets that accept certain types of payment, including credit or debit cards, and vouchers from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) or the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP).
- Local Harvest -- A leading website for organic and local food, Local Harvest maintains a searchable, nationwide directory of farmers markets, small farms and other local food sources. Local Harvest also has an online store that helps small farms develop markets for some of their products outside their local areas.
- Google or Bing -- You don't necessarily need a special service to help you track down your local farmers markets. If you have access to a computer and the Internet, a simple search that combines the keyword "farmers markets" with the name of your city, town, region or neighborhood is almost certain to turn up a list of nearby farmers markets.
- Check the Library -- It may sound very old school, but your local public library is still one of the very best sources for information about your community. Call the main library reference desk or stop by your local branch to ask about farmers markets in your area.
- Word of Mouth -- Another good way to find your local farmers markets, and to get a head start on figuring out which ones are best and what each one provides, ask your friends, neighbors and coworkers. People who frequent farmers markets are usually happy to share their observations and experiences, and to offer recommendations for specific products or markets.
With more than 5,000 farmers markets operating in the United States, chances are there are some good ones close to where you live. Use these tips to find the farmers markets near you and start enjoying the good taste and better nutrition of farm-fresh, locally grown food today.